Panel Discussion: Tackling inequality: strategies, priorities and effects

Past Event

01 December 2016, 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School
34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets), Oxford, OX1 3BD

Adobe Stock Sashkin equality
© Adobe Stock/ Sashkin

For the final event in our series, we're bringing together a panel of experts to discuss approaches to tackling inequality. Each panellist will draw on their own research and experience to put forward a response to the question of how to tackle inequality and its effects, before we open up to a wider discussion, with questions from the audience.


  • Professor Brian Nolan, Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Inequality and Prosperity and Co-Director, INET Oxford (Chair)
  • Professor Stefan Dercon, Professor of Economic Policy, Blavatnik School of Government
  • Professor Sandy Fredman, Co-Director, Oxford Martin Programme on Human Rights for Future Generations
  • Professor John Goldthorpe, Emeritus Fellow, Nuffield College
  • Professor Simonetta Manfredi, Professor in Equality and Diversity Management and Director, Centre for Diversity Policy Research & Practice, Oxford Brookes University

Join in on Twitter with the hashtag #omsinequality

About the panel

Brian Nolan is Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Inequality and Prosperity; Director of INET’s Employment, Equity and Growth Programme and Professor of Social Policy at the Department of Social Policy and Intervention. He was previously Principal of the College of Human Sciences and Professor of Public Policy at University College Dublin.

He is an economist by training, with a doctorate from the London School of Economics, and his main areas of research are income inequality, poverty, and the economics of social policy.

Recent research has focused on trends in income inequality and their societal impacts, the distributional effects of the economic crisis, social inclusion in the EU, top incomes, deprivation and multiple disadvantage, and tax/welfare reform. He has been centrally involved in a range of collaborative cross-country research networks and projects, most recently the Growing Inequalities’ Impacts (GINI) multi-country research project on inequalities and their impacts funded by the EU’s Framework Programme 7.

Recent books published by Oxford University Press include The Handbook of Economic Inequality (2008) which he co-edited with Wiemer Salverda and Tim Smeeding, Poverty and Deprivation in Europe (2011) co-authored with Christopher T. Whelan, The Great Recession and the Distribution of Household Income (2013), edited with Stephen Jenkins, Andrea Brandolini and John Micklewright, and two co-edited volumes from the GINI project in 2013.

Stefan Dercon is Professor of Economic Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and the Economics Department, and a Fellow of Jesus College. He is also Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economics.

Since 2011 he has been Chief Economist of the Department of International Development (DFID), the government department in charge with the UK’s aid policy and spending. While he returned to Oxford in 2015 to teach and conduct research, he continues with his role at DFID on a part-time basis.

Stefan is a development economist, applying economic analysis and statistics to understand the causes and consequences of poverty and the key economic development challenges of developing countries. He has worked extensively in Ethiopia and Tanzania, as well as in India, Peru, Vietnam, Kenya and other countries. One specific area of interest is the study of the consequences of climatic, health and other risks faced by poor populations, their impact on poverty and the quest for appropriate public policy responses. His book, Dull Disasters: How Planning Ahead Will Make A Difference, co-authored with Daniel Clarke, was published in 2016 by Oxford University Press.

Sandra Fredman is Rhodes Professor of the Laws of the British Commonwealth and the USA at Oxford University and Co-Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Human Rights for Future Generations. She was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2005 and became a QC (honoris causa) in 2012. She is Honorary Professor of Law at the University of Cape Town and a fellow of Pembroke College Oxford.

She has written and published widely on anti-discrimination law, human rights law and labour law, including numerous peer-reviewed articles, and three monographs: Human Rights Transformed (OUP 2008); Discrimination Law (2nd ed, OUP 2011); and Women and the Law (OUP 1997), as well as two co-authored books: The State as Employer (Mansell, 1988), with Gillian Morris, and Labour Law and Industrial Relations in Great Britain (2nd ed Kluwer, 1992) with Bob Hepple. She has also edited several books: Discrimination and Human Rights: The Case of Racism (OUP,2001); and Age as an Equality Issue (Hart, 2003) with Sarah Spencer; and has written numerous articles in peer-reviewed law journals.

She was awarded a three year Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship in 2004 to further her research into socio-economic rights and substantive equality. She is South African and holds degrees from the University of Witwatersrand and the University of Oxford. She has acted as an expert adviser on equality law and labour legislation in the EU, Northern Ireland, the UK, India, South Africa, Canada and the UN; and is a barrister practising at Old Square Chambers. She founded the Oxford Human Rights Hub in 2012, of which she is the Director.

John Goldthorpe is an Emeritus Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford, a Fellow of the British Academy, a Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and a Honorary Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society.

He taught sociology at the University of Leicester before becoming a Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge, and then in 1969, an Official Fellow at Nuffield His main research interests are in the fields of social stratification and mobility, educational inequalities, and sociological theory and methodology. His most recent book is Sociology as a Population Science (2016).

Simonetta Manfredi is a Professor in Equality and Diversity Management and Director of the Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice at Oxford Brookes University.

Her recent research has focused on work-life balance, gender and age discrimination issues in the Higher Education workplace. Her work has been published in academic journals that included the Industrial Law Journal, Legal Studies, International Journal of Discrimination and the Law and Employee Relations, but also in practitioner-oriented publications. She has co-authored the award-winning article: Improving Women's Representation in Senior Positions in Universities, published by the international journal Employee Relations. This paper was named by the leading publisher Emerald Group Publishing as an outstanding paper award winner in their Literati Network Award for Excellence 2011. She is also co-author of Managing Equality and Diversity: Theory and Practice (Oxford University Press 2012).

She has led a number of research projects funded by organisations to include the European Commission, the former Department of Trade and Industry, the European Social Fund, the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, the Higher Education Funding Council and Equality Challenge Unit.

She has been an invited speaker at a number of national and international conferences and seminars held by a range of organisations which include CIPD, UNISON, the European Commission, and the Equality Challenge Unit.

Simonetta has also undertaken consultancy work in the area of equality and diversity management for a number of employers both in the public and private sector. She was appointed by the Italian Ministry of Employment as Equal Opportunity Adviser to the Province of Bologna (2001-2003). She is a qualified workplace mediator.