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Abstracts for Max Weber Lectures 2017-2018

Wolfgang Schoen (Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance)


Taxation and Democracy

11 October 2017, 17:00-18:30
Badia, Refettorio

 Introduction: Stefan Grundmann (EUI LAW Professor)Chair: Valentin Jentsch (MWP LAW Fellow)


Since the principle "no taxation without representation" became a formative feature of modern statehood in the 18th century, taxation and democracy seem to sit happily next to each other.

This pre-stabilized harmony looks particularly convincing when "congruence" of those who vote in fiscal matters, those who pay the taxes and those who enjoy the benefits of public spending is given. But more and more situations become visible where the democratic process in fiscal policy doesn't guarantee a fully acceptable outcome.

On the one hand, protection of the individual taxpayer might require additional constitutional constraints, in particular in majority-minority conflicts.

On the other hand, powerful private players can encroach upon the democratic process, e.g. when factor mobility and tax competition put pressure on the nation state and its policy goals in the area of redistribution and the provision of public goods.

Last but not least one can ask whether the mere existence of substantial (direct) taxation is necessary to fuel political activism and to strengthen the citizens' identification with "their" community. 

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Cecilia L. Ridgeway (Stanford University)


Understanding the Nature of Status Inequality:
Why Is It Everywhere?  Why Does it Matter?

8 November 2017, 17:00-18:30
Badia, Refettorio


Introduction: Klarita Gërxhani (EUI SPS Professor)
Chair: Nevena Kulic (MWP SPS Fellow)


Status, which is based on differences in esteem and honor, is an ancient and universal form of inequality which nevertheless interpenetrates modern institutions and organizations. Given its ubiquity and significance, we need to better understand the basic nature of status as a form of inequality. 

I argue that status hierarches are a cultural invention to organize and manage social relations in a fundamental human condition: cooperative interdependence to achieve valued goals with nested competitive interdependence to maximize individual outcomes in the effort.

I consider this claim in relation to both evolutionary arguments and empirical evidence.  Evidence suggests that the cultural schema of status is two-fold, consisting of a deeply learned basic norm of status allocation and a set of more explicit, variable, and changing common knowledge status beliefs that people draw on to coordinate judgments about who or what is more deserving of higher status. 

The cultural nature of status allows people to spread it widely to social phenomena (e.g., firms in a business field) well beyond its origins in interpersonal hierarchies.

In particular, I argue, the association of status with social difference groups (e.g., race, gender, class-as-culture) gives inequalities based on those difference groups an autonomous, independent capacity to reproduce themselves through interpersonal status processes.  

About the speaker

Cecilia L. Ridgeway is the Lucie Stern Professor of Social Sciences in the Department of Sociology at Stanford University.

She is particularly interested in the role that social hierarchies in everyday social relations play in the larger processes of stratification and inequality in a society.  

A recent book on this theme is Framed By Gender: How Gender Inequality Persists in the Modern World (Oxford, 2011).  A current book project, titled Status: Why is It Everywhere? Why Does It Matter?, examines the nature of status as a form of social inequality and its significance for inequalities based on race, gender, and class. 

She is Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a recipient of the American Sociological Association’s Cooley-Mead Award for career contributions to social psychology as well as its Jessie Bernard Award for contributions to gender scholarship. She is also a past President of the American Sociological Association.  

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Odd Arne Westad (Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University)

'The Cold War: A World History'

13 December 2017, 17:00-18:30
Badia, Refettorio

Chair: Victor Petrov (HEC)
Introduces the speaker: Federico Romero (EUI HEC Professor)


In The Cold War: A New History, Odd Arne Westad offers a new perspective on a century when great power rivalry and ideological battle transformed every corner of our globe. From Soweto to Hollywood, Hanoi, and Hamburg, young men and women felt they were fighting for the future of the world. The Cold War may have begun on the perimeters of Europe, but it had its deepest reverberations in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, where nearly every community had to choose sides. And these choices continue to define economies and regimes across the world.

This lecture will sketch a new history of the global conflict between capitalism and communism since the late 19th century, and it will provide the larger context for how today’s international affairs came into being.

About the speaker

Odd Arne Westad is the S.T. Lee Professor of U.S.-Asia Relations at Harvard University, where he teaches at the Kennedy School of Government.  He is an expert on contemporary international history and on the eastern Asian region. 

Before coming to Harvard in 2015, Westad was School Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).  While at LSE, he directed LSE IDEAS, a leading centre for international affairs, diplomacy and strategy.

Professor Westad won the Bancroft Prize for The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times. The book, which has been translated into fifteen languages, also won a number of other awards.  Westad served as general editor for the three-volume Cambridge History of the Cold War, and is the author of  the Penguin History of the World (now in its 6th edition).  His book, Restless Empire: China and the World since 1750, won the Asia Society’s book award for 2013.

Professor Westad’s new book, The Cold War: A World History, has been published in 2017 by Basic Books in the United States and Penguin in the UK.  

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Jan-Werner Mueller (Princeton University)


'After Populism"

17 January 2018, 17:00-18:30
Badia, Refettorio

Chair: Raquel Barradas de Freitas (LAW)
Introduction: Richard Bellamy (Director MWP)



The lecture addresses the question how best to understand populism and also what structural changes in modern democracies might facilitate its emergence. 

It then asks how professional politicians and citizens at large should deal with the challenge of populism.

Finally, it makes some suggestions as to how the structural problems associated with contemporary democracies might be addressed.

About the speaker:

Jan-Werner Mueller is a professor of politics at Princeton University, where he also directs the Project in the History of Political Thought. 

His most recent publication is “What is Populism?” which has been translated into more than twenty languages.

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Dani Rodrik (Harvard Kennedy School)


“Globalization and the Populist Backlash”

14 February 2018, 17:00-18:30
Badia, Refettorio

Chair: Aydin B. Yildirim (RSC)
Introduction: Jean Pisani-Ferry (Tommaso-Schioppa Chair, RSC)


Populism may seem like it has come out of nowhere, but it has been on the rise for a while.

Economic history and economic theory both provide ample grounds for anticipating that advanced stages of economic globalization would produce a political backlash. While the backlash may have been predictable, the specific form it took was less so.

Rodrik distinguishes between left-wing and right-wing variants of populism, which differ with respect to the societal cleavages that populist politicians highlight.

The first has been predominant in Latin America, and the second in Europe. These different reactions appear to be related to the relative salience of different types of globalization shocks.

About the speaker

Dani Rodrik is Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

He has published widely in the areas of economic development, international economics, and political economy.

His current research focuses on the political economy of liberal democracy and economic growth in developing countries.

He is the recipient of the inaugural Albert O. Hirschman Prize of the Social Sciences Research Council and of the Leontief Award for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought.

Professor Rodrik is currently President-Elect of the International Economic Association.

His newest book is Straight Talk on Trade: Ideas for a Sane World Economy (2017). He is also the author of Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science (2015), The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy (2011) and One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions, and Economic Growth (2007).

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 Rachel Kranton (Duke University)


 “Deconstructing Group Bias: 

Groupy vs. Non-groupy social preferences"

14 March 2018, 17:00-18:30
Badia, Refettorio
Introduction: Andrea Galeotti (Professor of Economics) 
Chair: Matteo Foschi (MWF ECO)



This lecture presents a series of experiments that deconstructs the bias observed in group settings.  

Following the methods and traditions of social psychology, economists conducting experiments on income allocation find that participants, on average, are inequity averse towards out-group participants and more so towards in-group participants.  

New experiments find finds significant, divergent patterns in individual allocations of income in group settings.  

Using a within-subject design, the results indicate bias need not depend on group identity but rather on individuals’ reactions to group divisions per se.

Hence, the tendency to favor people conditional on a group affiliation, which we call “groupiness,” could be an individual trait.      

About the speaker

Rachel Kranton is James B Duke Professor of Economics at Duke University and is currently a visiting professor at Sciences Po Economics Department in Paris.  

Professor Kranton studies how institutions and the social setting affect economic outcomes.  She develops theories of networks and has introduced identity into economic thinking.

Her research contributes to many fields including microeconomics, economic development, and industrial organization. 

Rachel Kranton is a Fellow of the Econometric Society and was awarded a Chaire Blaise Pascal.  She has served on the Executive Committee of  the American Economic Association and on the Editorial Boards of the American Economic Review and the Journal of Economic Literature.  She earned her Ph.D. in Economics at the University California, Berkeley in 1993.  She has held fellowships at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

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T. Alexander Aleinikoff (The New School for Social Research), 


“Mobility and Immobility: Migrants and Refugees.” 

18 April 2018, 17:00-18:30
Badia, Refettorio

Chair: Naoko Hosokawa (MWF-RSC)
Introduction: Liav Orgad (RSC Professor)



Across the globe, barriers to migration are increasing and the number of forcibly displaced persons has reached levels not seen since World War II. But these “headlines” miss the real story. Overall, migration is in fact on the rise, particularly movement that does not necessarily result in settlement in the destination country. And the great crisis facing refugees is their immobility.

They are forced out of their home states and then locked into countries of asylum. Scholarship can best address these issues through the lenses of mobility and immobility, focusing more on those who seek to move than the states that seek to regulate such movement.

About the speaker

Professor T. Alexander Aleinikoff is University Professor and Director of the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at The New School. 

Prof. Aleinikoff has written widely in the areas of immigration and refugee law and policy, transnational law, citizenship, race, and constitutional law. He is currently at work on a book tentatively titled, The Arc of Protection: Reforming the International Refugee Regime (with Leah Zamore). His book Semblances of Sovereignty: The Constitution, the State, and American Citizenship was published by Harvard University Press in 2002.  He is a co-author of leading legal casebooks on immigration law and forced migration.

Prof. Aleinikoff served as United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees (2010-15) and was a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, where he also served as Dean and Executive Vice President of Georgetown University.  He was co-chair of the Immigration Task Force for President Barack Obama's transition team in 2008. From 1994 to 1997, he served as the general counsel, and then executive associate commissioner for programs, at the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).  Prof. Aleinikoff taught at the University of Michigan Law School from 1981 to 1997.

Prof. Aleinikoff received a J.D. from the Yale Law School and a B.A. from Swarthmore College. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts of Sciences in 2014.

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Debra Satz (Stanford University)

The Government’s Provision of Specific, In Kind Goods: A Defense

16 May 2018, 17:00-18:30
Badia, Refettorio

Chair: Angelo Caglioti (MWF-HEC)
Introduces: Richard Bellamy (Director Max Weber Programme)


The belief in the more or less universal superiority of the government’s provision of unrestricted cash over in kind goods can be usefully contrasted with an older tradition of thought. 

According to that tradition, the provision of some goods is so fundamental to our equal standing as citizens that these goods should be treated just as we treat national defense –distributed in kind by the government more or less equally to all--even in the absence of market failure.  

In Musgrave’s (1957) terminology, these are merit goods – goods that could be supplied by the market according to people’s consumer preferences, but that society has reason to distribute in a different way.  

Ethical socialists such as R.H. Tawney, William Morris, G.D.H. Cole, and T.H. Marshall argued that there are goods and services that should be provided by the government universally, and often equally, to all citizens. They had in mind goods like a national health service, votes, a job guarantee, housing, protection against market vulnerability, public housing, and free public education, although their list can be extended to other goods, including child care, opportunity for political influence, broadband internet access, food stamps, and even free time.  

My aim in this lecture is to render this “moral economy” tradition more attractive to contemporary egalitarians and to offer a new defense of in kind good provision.

About the speaker

Debra Satz is the Marta Sutton Weeks Professor of Ethics in Society at Stanford University. She earned a bachelor’s degree from City College of New York and a doctorate in philosophy from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on the ethical limits of markets, the place of equality in a just society, theories of rational choice, ethics, economics and public policy, ethics and education, and issues of international justice.

In 2004, Satz received the Walter J. Gores Award, Stanford’s highest teaching honor. She was awarded the Roland Prize in 2010 for faculty volunteer service. She also cofounded the Hope House Scholars Program, which pairs volunteer faculty with undergraduates to teach liberal arts courses to residents of a drug and alcohol treatment facility for women. 

Among her recent publications are Economic Analysis, Moral Philosophy and Public Policy, (co-authored with Daniel Hausman and Michael McPherson) Cambridge University Press in 2017,Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale: The Moral Limits of Markets (Oxford University Press, 2010); “Equality and Sufficiency: A Problematic Dichotomy in Global Justice;” (2013) “Unequal Chances: Race, Class and Schooling;” (2012) and (co-ed.) Occupy the Future (MIT Press, 2012). Her work has been published in the Journal of Philosophy, Philosophy and Public Affairs, Ethics, The World Bank Economic Review and Ambio, among other journals. She is the Editor in Chief of the journal Philosophy and Public Affairs

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