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Human Development &
Capability Association

Multi-Disciplinary and People-Centred

Archivo por meses: April 2017

Conference: The Sociology and Economics of Public Goods, Commodification and Rising Inequality: An Interdisciplinary Conversation

Stanford University, November 2‐3, 2017

Organized by David Grusky, Stanford University, and Ravi Kanbur, Cornell University

Two striking stylized facts mark the last twenty five years: (i) rising inequality of income and wealth, and (ii) rising commodification of goods which were previously supplied through group membership. Goods supplied through group membership, with elements of non‐rivalry and non‐ excludability, are labeled as “public goods” by economists. Such goods can be provided by the public sector (when the group is the nation as a whole) but they can also be provided by smaller groups such as associations, communities or families. The retreat from such modes of provision, and their replacement by privatized, individualized, modes is labeled as “commodification” by sociologists.

Rising inequality and increased commodification of public goods have happened at the same time. But are they connected? Does one trend feed on and intensify the other? If this is the case, what are the options for breaking the downward spiral? Sociologists and Economists have of course been aware of these trends and spirals, and have been engaged in research on these topics. However, these are quite separate literatures and engagements, with little interaction between them.

Economists have developed the theory of “voluntary provision of public goods”, which explores outcomes when individuals contribute to a good which is non‐rival and non‐excludable in consumption. The theory is seen as having wide application, in settings ranging from families, through communities, to sub‐national or national polities, and collective action more generally. Empirical analysis considers the relationship between group characteristics and the level and nature of public goods provision. There is also a strong strand of experimental work which explores, through “public good games” in laboratory settings, how different contribution, monitoring and sanction rules affect provision. Throughout, the interaction between inequality and public goods is a question of interest, but typically the causality of focus is from inequality to public goods, not from commodification to inequality.

Sociologists have focused on documenting long‐run trends in the provision of public goods and the institutional forces that affect whether goods are commodified or decommodified.  There is also a vibrant debate on the costs and benefits of delivering anti‐poverty interventions in ways that either (a) acquiesce to the commodification of opportunity (e.g., providing “basic income” that then allows for opportunity to be purchased by low‐income families), or (b) endeavor to decommodify opportunity via   universal or means‐tested delivery of services (e.g., childcare, college).

These two literatures have many insights to share, and have much to learn from each other. Yet they have developed quite separately. As a first step in bringing them together, Cornell University and Stanford University propose to hold a conversation between sociologists and economists on Public 2 Goods, Commodification and Rising Inequality, at Stanford University on 2‐3 November, 2017.

The conference organizers are David Grusky of Stanford University and Ravi Kanbur of Cornell University. The organizers invite submissions of completed papers, or substantive paper proposals (around 3‐5 single space pages), on any aspect of the conference theme. The papers can be conceptual, empirical, or policy oriented.  Submissions should be sent to Ravi Kanbur at sk145@cornell.edu, by May 15, 2017.  Decisions on acceptance will be communicated by July 15, 2017. The conference will cover the travel and accommodation costs of one author per accepted paper.

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Call for Papers: The Sociology and Economics of Public Goods, Commodification and Rising Inequality: An Interdisciplinary Conversation

Stanford University, November 2‐3, 2017

Submission Deadline: May 15

Organized by David Grusky, Stanford University, and Ravi Kanbur, Cornell University

Two striking stylized facts mark the last twenty five years: (i) rising inequality of income and wealth, and (ii) rising commodification of goods which were previously supplied through group membership. Goods supplied through group membership, with elements of non‐rivalry and non‐ excludability, are labeled as “public goods” by economists. Such goods can be provided by the public sector (when the group is the nation as a whole) but they can also be provided by smaller groups such as associations, communities or families. The retreat from such modes of provision, and their replacement by privatized, individualized, modes is labeled as “commodification” by sociologists.

Rising inequality and increased commodification of public goods have happened at the same time. But are they connected? Does one trend feed on and intensify the other? If this is the case, what are the options for breaking the downward spiral? Sociologists and Economists have of course been aware of these trends and spirals, and have been engaged in research on these topics. However, these are quite separate literatures and engagements, with little interaction between them.

Economists have developed the theory of “voluntary provision of public goods”, which explores outcomes when individuals contribute to a good which is non‐rival and non‐excludable in consumption. The theory is seen as having wide application, in settings ranging from families, through communities, to sub‐national or national polities, and collective action more generally. Empirical analysis considers the relationship between group characteristics and the level and nature of public goods provision. There is also a strong strand of experimental work which explores, through “public good games” in laboratory settings, how different contribution, monitoring and sanction rules affect provision. Throughout, the interaction between inequality and public goods is a question of interest, but typically the causality of focus is from inequality to public goods, not from commodification to inequality.

Sociologists have focused on documenting long‐run trends in the provision of public goods and the institutional forces that affect whether goods are commodified or decommodified.  There is also a vibrant debate on the costs and benefits of delivering anti‐poverty interventions in ways that either (a) acquiesce to the commodification of opportunity (e.g., providing “basic income” that then allows for opportunity to be purchased by low‐income families), or (b) endeavor to decommodify opportunity via   universal or means‐tested delivery of services (e.g., childcare, college).

These two literatures have many insights to share, and have much to learn from each other. Yet they have developed quite separately. As a first step in bringing them together, Cornell University and Stanford University propose to hold a conversation between sociologists and economists on Public 2 Goods, Commodification and Rising Inequality, at Stanford University on 2‐3 November, 2017.

The conference organizers are David Grusky of Stanford University and Ravi Kanbur of Cornell University. The organizers invite submissions of completed papers, or substantive paper proposals (around 3‐5 single space pages), on any aspect of the conference theme. The papers can be conceptual, empirical, or policy oriented.  Submissions should be sent to Ravi Kanbur at sk145@cornell.edu, by May 15, 2017.  Decisions on acceptance will be communicated by July 15, 2017. The conference will cover the travel and accommodation costs of one author per accepted paper.

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Call for Papers: 2017 International Health Conference, St Hugh’s College, Oxford

Submission of Abstracts - Final Call Deadline 23.59pm GMT, 25th April 2017
http://www.globalhealthcongress.org/submissions

This Oxford-based conference series seeks to bring together researchers who aim to promote health and wellbeing throughimproved health services in Europe and around the world. 

The aim of the event, building on the 2016 congress, is to highlight the link between research and practice by gathering together a wide range of papers on health and health services research close to practice and/or policy. These will come from the full range of allied disciplines including primary care, acute medicine, public health, psychiatry, paediatrics, and ageing as well as economics, psychology, statistics, social science and ethics, clinical trial design, health informatics and implementation research.

The Conference series has been established by academics in Oxford and elsewhere and is open to researchers in health, particularly those related to health services in the UK, Europe and beyond. We hope that you will contribute to what promises to be an exciting new opportunity to develop research networks and encourage the uptake of research and evidence based innovations in all areas of science that contribute to health and wellbeing through better health services.

Invited Speakers Confirmed:

  • Professor Ralf Schwarzer, Freie Universität Berlin
  • Professor Theresa Marteau, University of Cambridge
  • Professor Susan Brundage, Queen Mary University of London
  • Professor David Hunter, Durham University 
  • Professor Jonathan Emberson, University of Oxford
  • Professor Rajesh Chopra, The Institute of Cancer Research
  • Professor Winette Van der Graaf, The Institute of Cancer Research
  • Professor Peter Scarborough, Nuffield Department of Population Health

Submitted papers are welcomed on:

General Practice, Cancer and Health Services, Public Health, Community Care, Acute Health, Hospitals, Mental Health, Paediatrics, Older Age, Dentistry, Health Economics, Health Psychology, Medical Statistics, Social Science and Medicine, Health Policy and Systems, Health Management, e-Health, Big Data, Health Informatics, Human Resources, Nursing, Leadership, Medical Decision Making, Research Utilization, Inequalities, Social Determinants and Patient Reported Outcome Measures

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