Business & Economics Podcasts

What is the most unequal region of the world? How deep does gender discrimination run in our societies? What happens to poor households during a housing boom? How is land distributed today? How can minimum wage reduce racial inequality? Can we really expect politicians to fix inequality? InequaliTalks presents accessible research done by young economists on one of the most pressing issues in the public conversation: inequality. InequaliTalks is supported by School of Cities at the University of Toronto.




What is the most unequal region of the world? How deep does gender discrimination run in our societies? What happens to poor households during a housing boom? How is land distributed today? How can minimum wage reduce racial inequality? Can we really expect politicians to fix inequality? InequaliTalks presents accessible research done by young economists on one of the most pressing issues in the public conversation: inequality. InequaliTalks is supported by School of Cities at the University of Toronto.




Episode 33: Intergenerational Trauma in the Antilles -- with Marie Beigelman

In this episode, Marie Beigelman speaks about the intergenerational traumas and economic gaps borne of slavery and forced labors in the Caribbean—Guadeloupe and Martinique, specifically. She tells us about her ongoing research exploring the effects of slavery on family units’ development and access to economic opportunity. Working Paper: “Intergenerational Impact of Labor Coercion” Recommendation: “Les Rivières”, by Mai Hua (2019)


Episode 32: Persistent Economic Inequality in China -- with Marlon Seror

In this episode, Marlon Seror explores how one of the most radical social transformations in recent human history affected economic inequality in China. He demonstrates that inequality persisted despite two revolutions in the same century. Working Paper: “Persistence Despite Revolutions”, with Alberto Alesina, David Y. Yang, Yang You and Weihong Zeng Most recent version (August 2022): Recommendation: “To Live” (1992) by Hua Yu


Episode 31: How Air Pollution Creates Economic Inequality – with Jonathan Colmer

In this episode, Jonathan Colmer explores the intergenerational effects of environmental pollution on economic opportunity. He tells us about his work as co-founder of the Environmental Inequality Lab where he uses census data to determine the link between exposure to air pollution pre-birth and in early childhood of an individual and the economic outcomes of their offspring. Working Paper: “Air Pollution and Economic Opportunity in the United States”, with John Voorheis and Brennan Williams Most recent version (July 2022): Recommendations: “From the Inside Out: The Fight for Environmental Justice Within Government Agencies” (2019) by Jill Lindsey Harrison Banzhaf, Spencer, Lala Ma, and Christopher Timmins. 2019. “Environmental Justice: The Economics of Race, Place, and Pollution.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 33 (1): 185-208. DOI: 10.1257/jep.33.1.185 Currie, Janet, and Reed Walker. 2019. “What Do Economists Have to Say about the Clean Air Act 50 Years after the Establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency?” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 33 (4): 3-26. DOI: 10.1257/jep.33.4.3


Episode 30: The Gender Ask Gap -- with Nina Roussille

Over the past few decades, the raw gender pay gap in the U.S. has decreased significantly. Nonetheless, the residual pay gap, or the chunk of the pay gap that cannot be explained by gender differences, remains the same. Meanwhile, there is extensive research showing that women continue to have lower salary expectations than men - a fact that raises questions about the relationship between women’s salary expectations and the residual pay gap. In this episode, Nina Roussille talks to us about the ask gap, a concept that measures the extent to which women ask for lower salaries in comparison to men. Using data from an online recruitment platform in the U.S., she explains how the ask gap can be used to explain wage inequality.


Episode 29: The Minority Trap -- with Xiaoyue Shan

In this episode, Xiaoyue Shan discusses her research on the ways in which minority status causes women to leave male-dominated fields. She tells us about a field experiment as part of which she examined how gender impacted dropout rates in an introductory economics course, and how she found that female students with higher math achievement and academic potential were nonetheless more likely than male students to drop out of the course. Working Paper: « The Minority Trap: Minority Status Drives Women Out of Male-Dominated Fields » Most recent version Recommendation:


Episode 28: Female-Friendly Jobs: the Power of Unions -- with Lorenzo Lagos

In recent decades, gender-based discrimination in the workplace has become a symbol of women’s fight for equality. In parallel, the role of unions in supporting underrepresented workers has grown into an unmatched tool to address inequity and intolerance. In this episode, Lorenzo Lagos tells us about his ongoing work on the power of unions in creating more female-friendly jobs. Looking at the bargaining strategy of Brazil’s largest trade union federation, he finds that including more gender-based quotas and female-centric amenities (childcare, maternity leave, etc.) highly contributes to making workplaces more accessible to women. Working Paper: « Collective Bargaining for Women: How Unions Create Female-Friendly Jobs », with Viola Corradini and Garima Sharma Most recent version (September 2022): Recommendation: “The Boss of it All”, by Lars Von Trier (2006)


Season 3 Trailer: The Gender Inequality Series

Starting Wednesday, September 14th, InequaliTalks is starting its first spotlight series. To begin, we will be looking at gender inequality and interviewing three scholars whose research looks at the intersection of economics and patterns of gender inequality: Lorenzo Lagos, Xiaoyue Shan and Nina Roussille. Make sure to tune in!


Episode 26: What happens when big companies increase wages? -- with Ellora Derenoncourt

In recent years, decreasing federal minimum wage, low unionization rates and growing outsourcing trends have had some important effects on wage growth in the US low wage sector. As major firms throughout the world come under scrutiny for their failure to compensate their workers fairly, it is becoming increasingly necessary to better understand what motivates companies to mirror other larger firms’ wage changes. In this episode, Ellora Derenoncourt explains that when it comes to wage changes, just a few large employers in the labor market can have substantial ripple effects. Using the examples of firms like Amazon, Walmart and Target, she looks at why some companies feel compelled to follow in the footsteps of larger actors. Working Paper: “Spillover effects from voluntary employer minimum wages”, with Clemens Noelke, David Weil & Bledi Taska Recommendation: “On the Clock: What Low Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane” (2019), by Emily Guendelsberger


Episode 25: Carbon Tax Aversion -- with Thomas Douenne

How do beliefs shape and determine our attitudes towards policies? In this episode, Thomas Douenne looks at carbon taxation in the context of the Yellow Vest Movement, and how French people rejected a tax & dividend policy which they assumed would negatively impact their purchasing power. Working Paper: “Yellow Vests, Pessimistic Beliefs and Carbon Tax Aversion”, with Adrien Fabre Recommendation: “The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good?” (2020) by Michael J. Sandel


Episode 24: Housing and Racial Discrimination -- with Aradhya Sood

What are racial covenants? How do they target specific ethnic and religious minorities? And how do they affect present-day economic outcomes? In this episode, Aradhya Sood tells us about her research on the prevalence of racially-restrictive covenants during the early-to-mid 20th century, and how these contracts continue to impact house prices and promote racial segregation today. Working Paper: Long Shadow of Racial Discrimination: Evidence from Housing Covenants, with William Speagle and Kevin Ehrman-Solberg Recommendation: Segregation by Design: Local Politics and Inequality in American Cities, Jessica Trounstine (2019)


Episode 23: Outsourcing and Inequality -- with Adrien Bilal

In recent decades, firms' decision to rely on contract labor over "in-house" workers has become increasingly prevalent. In this episode, Adrien Bilal tells us about his research on labor outsourcing and inequality in France. He explains that while domestic outsourcing may increase aggregate productivity, it nonetheless leads to oursourced workers suffering important wage losses. Paper: “Outsourcing, Inequality and Aggregate Output”, with H. Lhuillier (2021) Recommendation: Les Misérables, Ladj Ly (2019), with Damien Bonnard, Alexis Manenti and Djebril Zonga


Episode 22: Affirmative action in Brazil -- with Ana Paula Melo

What is affirmative action? How can it increase the representation of under-privileged groups in a given field? And how might it play out in the higher education sector? In this episode, Ana Paula Melo talks to us about her research on the impact of affirmative action policies on the access to college in Brazil. She tells us about the benefits and shortcomings of this policy, and what is still missing in the existing literature on the topic. Working Paper: Affirmative action and demand for schooling: evidence from nation-wide policies, with Ursula Mello Recommendation: "Transcendent Kingdom" (2020) by Yaa Gyasi


Episode 21: Systemic Discrimination -- with Evan K. Rose

Evan K. Rose talks to us about his research on the relationship between human capital, company behavior and discrimination. Looking at the hiring procedures of over a hundred Fortune 500 firms across the US, Rose found that there were significant penalties for applicants belonging to gender and/or racial minorities. In this episode, Rose discusses the policy implications of this phenomenon, and the need for change in both institutional and internal practices. Paper: “Systemic Discrimination among Large U.S. Employers” by Patrick M. Kline, Evan K. Rose and Christopher R. Walters (2021) Recommendation: “The Anatomy of Racial Inequality” (2003) by Glenn C. Loury


Episode 20: The Declining Worker Power Hypothesis -- with Anna Stansbury

Why has wage inequality increased in the past 40 years in the United States? Why has corporate valuation skyrocketed? In this episode, Anna Stansbury presents her work with Larry Summers on how declining worker power better explains these recent trends in the American economy and what that means for inequality. Paper: “The Declining Worker Power Hypothesis” by Anna Stansbury and Lawrence Summers Recommendation: “Working” by Studs Terkel


Episode 19: What We Teach about Race and Gender -- with Anjali Adukia

Books shape how children learn about society and the world. Analyzing over 1,100 award-winning children’s books, Anjali Adukia talks about what artificial intelligence (AI) tools can tell us about how race and gender are depicted to children. Paper: “What We Teach About Race and Gender: Representation in Images and Text of Children’s Books” (by A. Adukia, A. Eble, E. Harrison, H.B. Runesha, T. Szasz) Recommendation: "Salt" by Nayyirah Waheed


Episode 18: State Capacity, Taxation and Development -- with Augustin Bergeron

Governments in the world’s poorest countries face important revenue constraints. The ability to collect taxes directly affects the quality of public services and infrastructures, and is thought to undermine economic growth. Augustin Bergeron walks us through 3 experiments he conducted in D.R. Congo to investigate how the architecture of tax collection affects a state's fiscal capacity: who collects taxes, how much you can collect, and how you collect them. Papers: - "Local Elites as State Capacity: How City Chiefs Use Local Information to Increase Tax Compliance in the D.R. Congo" by Pablo Balan, Augustin Bergeron, Gabriel Tourek, and Jonathan Weigel - "The State Capacity Ceiling on Tax Rates: Evidence from Randomized Tax Abatements in the DRC" by Augustin Bergeron, Gabriel Tourek, and Jonathan Weigel -"Optimal Assignment of Bureaucrats: Evidence from Randomly Assigned Tax Collectors in the DRC" by Augustin Bergeron, Pedro Bessone, John Kabeya Kabeya, Gabriel Tourek, and Jonathan Weigel Recommendations: - "Rebellion, Rascals, and Revenue: Tax Follies and Wisdom through the Ages" by Michael Keen and Joel Slemrod - "King Leopold's Ghost" by Adam Hochschild


Episode 17: Obesity and Wealth -- with Elisa Macchi

Can obesity signal wealth? In this episode, Elisa talks about the experiment she conducted in Uganda, in which she demonstrates that obese people are perceived as rich and that being obese facilitates access to credit. Paper: "Worth your weight? Experimental evidence on the benefits of obesity in low-income countries" by Elisa Macchi Recommendation: "The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone" by Olivia Laing


Episode 16: Keeping up with the Khans -- with Eve Colson-Sihra

Does inequality affect our perception of necessity and luxury? Does it change our preferences for certain goods? And if yes, what are the impact in terms of malnutruition? Eve Colson-Sihra talks about the research she conducted with Clément Bellet on the impact of exposure to inequality on the perceived needs of the poor in India. Paper: "Does Inequality Affect the Perception of Needs?" by Clément Bellet and Eve Colson-Sihra Recommendations: - "The Consumer Society: Myths and Structures" by Jean Baudrillard - "The Theory of the Leisure Class" by Thorstein Veblen


Episode 15: Race, Place, Health -- with Diane Alexander

Higher asthma rates are one of the more obvious ways that health inequalities between African American and other children are manifested beginning in early childhood. Diane Alexander talks about the research she conducted with Janet Currie on the impact of children's neighborhoods on the racial gap in respiratory diseases such as asthma. Paper: "Is it who you are or where you live? Residential segregation and racial gaps in childhood asthma" by Diane Alexander and Janet Currie Recommendation: - Habitat for Humanity - Parasite (2019) by Bong Joon Ho


Episode 14: Top Immigrants -- with Felix Koenig

Does immigration import inequality? Felix Koenig talks about his recent research on the contribution of migrants to the rise in UK top incomes, showing that immigrants make up a much larger proportion of the top of the income range than of the bottom. Paper: “Importing Inequality: Immigration and the Top 1%” by Arun Advani, Felix Koenig, Lorenzo Pessina, Andrew Summers. Recommendations: - "A Star is Born" by Bradley Cooper - "Ottolenghi Simple: A Cookbook" by Yotam Ottolenghi