Presenter: Guido Alfani (Bocconi University).

When: Monday 15th May, 13.30-15.00.

Where: Seminar Room 3, Badia Fiesolana.

Abstract: Until recently, we knew little about long-term trends in economic inequality in preindustrial times. This situation has now changed, also thanks to the activities of the ERC-funded project EINITE – Economic Inequality across Italy and Europe, 1300-1800. This project has collected, systematically and with a uniform methodology, information about long-term trends in wealth inequality and in the share of the top rich for many ancient Italian states as well as for a few other areas of Europe, from Catalonia to the Low Countries. The evidence collected strongly suggests that during the period from ca. 1300 to 1800 inequality tended to grow almost monotonically, with one exception: the century or so following the Black Death epidemic of 1347-52. These results place in a different perspective what we know about inequality trends from the nineteenth century until today. This seminar will provide an overview of the research done in the context of the EINITE project. It will also discuss the opportunity of coupling the study of  economic inequality with that of social mobility, on which a new ERC project (SMITE) will soon start.