Global Inequality
Fall 2020
The City College of New York

Instructor: Juliana de Castro Galvao
Slack: You can DM me through our Slack group
Office hours: Mondays 11am - 12:15pm
              By appointment
Class Meetings: Wednesdays 11am - 12:15pm 
                Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

Course Overview

Throughout the semester we will discuss recent empirical research that analyzes the trends and extent of economic inequality both within and between countries in historical perspective.

We will read what leading scholars in the field of global inequality believe to be the main causes of variance in inequality levels within the same country throughout time and also what explains divergent patterns of development between countries.

The course will accomplish this by combining Sociology, History, Economics and Statistics.


Each student should carefully read the required readings of the week, being sure to summarize their main aspects and list concepts that are not clear.

The course has a medium reading load (approximately 50 pages per week).

The course will begin with an overview of basic concepts and measures of economic inequality in order to facilitate your comprehension of the papers that will be discussed in class. However, previous knowledge of statistics is not necessary.

Distance Learning Platforms

We will be using three digital platforms:

  • Blackboard
    1. Assignments and Exams
    2. Online Meetings (Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Wednesday 11-12:15)
  • Course Website
    1. Weekly Lecture Posts (Posted on Wednesday)
    2. Where students will post answers to weekly lecture post questions and ask questions related to the weekly readings (by Sunday)
  • Slack
    1. General Communication
    2. You should register for Slack using the invitation sent to your e-mail registered on Blackboard
    3. I recommend you download the Slack app on your phones if possible

Weekly Organization:

  • Lecture Posts will be uploaded on Wednesdays on our course website
  • You should post summary of the readings and answer the questions to the lecture posts by Sunday
  • Mondays – office hours from 11-12:15 (by appointment)
  • Assignments will be due on Mondays – unless otherwise noted.
  • On Wednesday: Your internet connection allowing, participate of our meeting on Blackboard Collaborate Ultra (11:00 – 12:15) where we will discuss your questions, doubts, go over assignments and main concepts.
    1. These are not mandatory, but will count as extra participation points – provided there is active engagement from the student (Read more below)

Assignments and Grading

Grading will be distributed as following – for a total of 100 points

  • Participation: 15 points
    • How will participation be assessed?
      • You must answer the questions asked in the lecture post.
      • Your answer should engage with the readings for that week and not only the lecture post. You should also ask questions related to the readings and the lecture posts. When possible, you should engage with your classmates’ comments and answers.
      • Your comment should be at least 100 words
      • Your answer should be posted on the course website in the comments section of the lecture post
        • Please write your summary and answers in a safe place and save it before posting, to guarantee you will not lose your work. In previous semesters we have had issues with the comments section on the website.
      • Extra-points for participation will be conferred to students that have an active participation during our Wednesday virtual meetings – through Blackboard Ultra Collaborate.
        • What is active participation? Students that prepare questions and engage in debate.
        • If your are just logged in during our Blackboard Collaborate Ultra session, but do not participate (be it by speaking or writing in the chat) during our meetings this will not be counted as you being in the session.
  • Take-home assignments: 30 points
    • There will be five assignments throughout the semester
    • They must be sent through Blackboard by Monday – the exact due dates are marked in our course calendar
    • All Assignments are worth 5 points, except for assignment 2 – which is worth 10 points.
  • Quiz: 10 points
  • Midterm: 20 points
  • Final Exam: 25 points

Accessibility and Accommodations

Important: if you believe the design of the course or classroom poses any type of barrier or difficulty towards your learning experience, please contact me as soon as possible so that we can work out the necessary arrangements.


Organize your schedule to keep up with the readings. Some texts may require more time to read than the regular reading load of the course. Classes are organized presuming that the students have read the required reading for the day beforehand.

Note that I cannot accept assignments past the due date without justification.

Be advised that plagiarism will be taken very seriously and will result in severe penalties. For more information on academic dishonesty see here


I strongly recommend you use some type of reference and citation management tool, such as Zotero, Mendeley, Endnote.

I also recommend you use some type of cloud storage, so that you avoid losing your work (Google Drive, One Drive, Dropbox).

Course Calendar

Week 1 – What is Inequality?

August 26 – September 2

Atkinson, Anthony. 2015. Inequality – What can be done?

[Introduction and Chapter 1 of Part 1 – pp. 1 – 45]

Week 2 – How to measure Inequality and Why Measurement Matters

September 3 – September 9


Ravallion, Martin. The Debate on Globalization, Poverty and Inequality – Why Measurement Matters


Milanovic, Branko. 2016. Global Inequality – A New Approach for the Age of Globalization. [Introduction and Chapter 1 – pp. 1 – 45]

Assignment 1 due (September 8 – Tuesday)*

*Assignment worth 10 points

Week 3 – Quiz

September 10 – September 16

Quiz Posted on September 9 (Wednesday)


Quiz due September 14 (Monday)

Week 4 – Income inequality Within a Country

September 17 – September 23

Milanovic, Branko. 2010. The Haves and the Have-Nots: A brief and idiosyncratic history of global inequality [Chapter 1: Essay I – Unequal People AND Vignettes 1.1 – 1.10]]

Assignment 2 Due (September 21 – Monday)*

* This assignment is worth 10 points

Week 5 – Income Inequality Between Countries

September 24 – September 30

Milanovic, Branko. 2010. The Haves and the Have-Nots: A brief and idiosyncratic history of global inequality [Chapter 2 AND Vignettes 2.1 – 2.7]

Week 6 – Income Inequality Among Citizens in the World

October 1 – October 7

Milanovic, Branko. 2010. The Haves and the Have-Nots: A brief and idiosyncratic history of global inequality [Chapter 3 AND Vignettes 3.1 – 3.9]


Assignment 3 Due (October 5 – Monday)

Week 7 – Understanding Historical Trends in Within Country Income Inequality

October 8 – October 14

Milanovic, Branko. 2016. Global Inequality – A New Approach for the Age of Globalization. [Chapter 2 – pp. 46 – 117]

Week 8 – Overview of Basic Concepts so far

October 15 – October 21

Assignment 4 Due (October 19 Monday)

Midterm posted on Wednesday (October 21)

Week 9 – MIDTERM and Midterm Discussion

October 22 – October 28

MIDTERM due Monday

Week 10 – Top Incomes – A brief overview of main topics

October 29 – November 4

Medeiros, Marcelo., & de Souza, Pedro. H. F. 2015. The rich, the affluent and the top incomes. Current Sociology, 63(6), 869–895.


Piketty, Thomas. 2014 Capital in the Twenty-First Century. [Introduction]

Week 11 – Causes of Divergent Development Between Countries – An Institutional Approach

November 5 – November 11

Hillmann, Henning. 2013. “Economic Institutions and the State: Insights from Economic History.” Annual Review of Sociology 39(1):251–73.


Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson. 2001. The colonial origins of comparative development: An empirical investigation. American Economic Review 91:1369-1401

Week 12 – Inequality Between Countries: Immigration, Gender and Race

November 12 – November 18

Hoffman, Kelly, and Miguel Angel Centeno. 2003. “The Lopsided Continent: Inequality in Latin America.” Annual Review of Sociology 29(1):363–90.


Parreñas, Rhacel. S. 2000. Migrant Filipina Domestic Workers And The International Division Of Reproductive Labor. Gender & Society, 14(4), 560–580.

Week 14 – Comparing Group Inequality Between Countries – Race

November 19 – November 24

Monk, Ellis P. 2013. “Color, Bodily Capital, and Ethnoracial Division in the U.S. and Brazil.” [Introduction pp.1 – 22]

Week 14 – Thanksgiving Break

November 25 -November 29

Thanksgiving Break

Week 15 – Final Week of Class: Review for Final Exam – Overview of main concepts

November 30 – December 9

Neckerman, Kathryn M., and Florencia Torche. 2007. “Inequality: Causes and Consequences.” Annual Review of Sociology 33(1):335–57.


Firebaugh, Glenn. 2000. “The Trend in Between-Nation Income Inequality.” Annual Review of Sociology 26(1):323–39.

Assignment 5 – due Thursday December 3

Week 16 – Final Exam 

Due date Monday December 14 (12/14)


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