The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality
Friday, May 9, 2014, 2:00pm
National Academy of Sciences
2101 Constitution Avenue, NW
Presenter: Angus Deaton, Princeton University
Discussants: David Johnson, Bureau of Economic Analysis and Samuel Preston, University of Pennsylvania
Angus Deaton will present some of the main themes of his book, The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality. He will talk about how the world has become an immensely better place, as mortality has fallen and incomes have risen, but at the same time a more unequal place, because only some have escaped leaving others behind. He will also talk about inequality—its positive role in helping those left behind to catch up, and its negative role if the first escapees try to stop others from following. He will argue that aid flows from rich to poor countries often widen the very gaps they are nominally trying to close. He will also focus on the data underpinning his arguments, especially some of the unsolved issues in national and global statistics. These include the need to integrate inequality data from surveys with national accounts data, and the under-appreciated difficulties of calculating the price levels that are needed to make international comparisons. There are also great gaps in measures of mortality, especially in Africa; making up data is not a solution.