Location of Conference
Call for Papers for the 35th IARIW General Conference, Copenhagen,
Denmark, August 20-25, 2018
The IARIW Council has selected the 15 theme sessions below for the 35th General Conference to
be held in Copenhagen, Denmark August 20-25, 2018. IARIW members are invited to submit
proposals for papers for these sessions.
In addition to proposals for the theme sessions, proposals may be submitted in all areas of
interest to the membership, including: inequality; poverty; time use; real estate and housing
prices; happiness and well-being; prices; wealth; household issues; social benefits, and
measurement challenges for official statistics.
The web portal for submissions will be open effective April 30, 2017. The deadline for
submissions is September 30, 2017.
Globalization and ‘Inclusive Growth’
Organizer: Suresh Chand Aggarwal (University of Delhi, India)
Inclusive growth as a development objective has been a long-cherished goal of many economies
around the world. It has received renewed recognition in view of rising global inequalities
because of high growth in some economies and near stagnation in many others. The idea for the
session is to identify and analyze the impact of globalization on inclusive growth. How has rapid
growth in some economies, especially the emerging economies, as well as the negative impacts
of the Great Recession of 2008, affected different households within an economy and across
economies? Inclusive growth is about more than income inequality. It encompasses the
opportunities created or lost, as well as the redistribution of available opportunities during the
process of acceleration or deceleration of growth. Inclusive growth could be captured through an
opportunity index based on a social welfare function.
The research papers may address the following questions:
What opportunities are opened or closed to different types of households during slow
and high phases of growth in areas such as income, employment, education, and
Has growth been all encompassing or have its fruits been enjoyed only by a section of
society, leading to widening inequalities of opportunities in countries such as India,
China, Russia, etc?
Similarly, have developments in the United States, Europe and other regions which
recently experienced the Great Recession had a higher cost for certain types of
households as compared to others?
How do we measure “inclusiveness”?
How can the benefits of growth acceleration and costs of growth deceleration be more
What policies could help to create more ‘equitable’ distribution of benefits and cost of
Skills, Employment and Productivity - Measurement and Analysis
Organizers: Deb Kusum Das (University of Delhi, India), Wendy Li (Bureau of Economic
Analysis, United States) and Sabrina Wulff Pabilonia (Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States)
Under the trend of globalization and automation, skill development is important to generate
employment and enhance workers’ productivity. Hence, it is an effective way to combat poverty
and maintain firms’ competitiveness. The purpose of this session is to establish the centrality of
skill development to maintain both productivity and employment growth – in developing as well
as in developed economies. Papers are invited which attempt to develop indicators of skills, to
measure the impacts of automation on skill development, and to study various measurement
issues associated with it. Further, papers which explore the linkage between skill development,
productivity and employment both at the level of the economy and its sectors, particularly
industries, from an analytical perspective are also welcome.
Measuring Capital and Wealth
Organizers: Robert Inklaar (University of Groningen, Netherlands) and Mary O’Mahony (King’s
College, United Kingdom)
The capital (or wealth) available in an economy is of central importance for economic growth,
well-being and sustainability. This session will be devoted to advances in the measurement of
capital and wealth. We envisage a wide range of perspectives on capital, including (but not
limited to) areas such as:
The measurement of intangible types of capital, such as intellectual property or
The measurement of human capital, for instance in relation to differences in health
status, the quality of education or the return to experience.
The measurement of natural resource capital.
The relationship between micro- and macro-level measures of capital and wealth.
Papers that actively engage outstanding issues of measurement are particularly encouraged, but
we welcome theoretical and applied papers on capital and wealth in general.
Human Capital and Innovation
Organizers: Wendy Li (Bureau of Economic Analysis, United States) and Sabrina Wulff
Pabilonia (Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States)
This session will cover the role of human capital in innovation and growth. We are interested in
papers that explore how human capital within firms or at universities spurs innovation regionally
or across regions, how digitization affects the mobility of skilled labor and employment
structure, and how international venture capital flows affect cross-border startups. Additionally,
papers on knowledge centers, entrepreneurial activity, patents, and effective management
practices are also welcome.
Is Productivity Growth Slowing Down?
Organizer: Nicholas Oulton (London School of Economics, United Kingdom)
Abstract: The OECD has recently produced evidence that the growth of labour productivity is
slowing down in large advanced economies and that the start of the slowdown preceded the
financial crisis. At the same time there have been two related debates in the academic literature.
The first is between technology pessimists (led by Gordon) and technology optimists (e.g.
Brynjolffson). The second is between proponents of the secular stagnation thesis (Summers) and
sceptics (Eichengreen). A number of questions around this debate are in need of answers. 1. How
strong is the statistical evidence that the slowdown preceded the financial crisis? Or are we just
seeing the aftershocks of the financial crisis? 2. Will the slowdown disappear as the crisis is
overcome, just as slow growth in the 1980s gave way to faster growth in the 1990s? 3. How
general is the slowdown, i.e. can we see it in emerging markets as well as advanced countries? 4.
Will ICT continue to power labour productivity growth generally or will its effects gradually die
away? 5. Will other forms of innovation take up the slack? This session invites papers addressing
any or all of these issues, from either a macro or a micro perspective.
The Digital Economy - Conceptual and Measurement Issues
Organizers: John Verrinder (Eurostat), Marshall Reinsdorf (International Monetary Fund), and
Wendy Li (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
The "digital economy" that has emerged in recent years has given consumers access to many free
or low cost products and to new kinds of peer-to-peer and “sharing economy” service providers,
and greatly expanded access to information. Digitalization has also transformed how we shop
and communicate, expanded buyers’ access to varieties, enabled many goods and services to
have new features that improve their quality, and made data a new kind of factor of production.
Intangibles, such as brand equity, have also become more important.
There is a strong interest in the size and development of the digital economy (in current and
constant price terms), and consequent impacts on growth, productivity and employment, both at
the macro and micro levels. This has accelerated in recent years as 'e-platforms' have disrupted
one traditional market after another. The new business models of the digital economy present
both conceptual questions and measurement challenges for traditional statistical collections, but
also offer new opportunities for obtaining source data that did not exist before.
This session will therefore examine the conceptual and measurement challenges for national
accounts and price statistics posed by digitalization and strategies for meeting these challenges.
Distributional Diversity in the National Accounts
Organizers: Dennis Fixler (Bureau of Economic Analysis, United States), and Jorrit Zwijnenburg
The last couple of years have seen an increased interest in the development of distributional
measures within the system of national accounts, along with increased research on including
heterogeneity and diversity in macroeconomic models and results (see Krueger, Mitman and
Perri (2016)). The OECD has set up an international Expert Group on Disparities within National
Accounts (EG DNA) to develop methodology to breakdown household income, consumption
and savings within the SNA into income quintiles; a High Level Expert Group on the
Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress sponsored by the OECD (HLEG)
has been set up as a follow-up to the Stiglitz report (Stiglitz et al. (2009)); a recent project has
started at the World Wealth and Income Database that includes Emmanuel Saez, Thomas
Piketty and Gabriel Zucman; the Washington Center for Equitable Growth recently sponsored
an expert meeting to explore possibilities for the compilation of distributional results in the
United States; and the ECB is working on linking data from the Household Finance and
Consumption Survey with financial accounts data to derive distributional results on wealth.
There have also been several country-specific efforts; Australia, the United Kingdom and the
Netherlands have already released official reports with DINA measures, and the US has created
distributional measures of personal income using the National Income and Product Account
Past IARIW conferences have included papers discussing the compilation of distributional
measures and some of the challenges in this compilation process (including the special
OECD/IARIW conferences and the current conference session “Integrating Micro and Macro
Approaches to National Income Analysis”). Although these sessions have already provided
relevant guidance for some of the issues in the compilation process, more discussion is still
required to further develop some of the concepts used, examine methods to deal with specific
NA related items, solve gaps between micro and macro statistics, demonstrate the importance of
distributional measures, and evaluate the alternative data sources.
The current projects use a variety of concepts and methods to distribute different aggregate
measures such as personal income, GDP, market income, etc. This session would bring together
researchers who are actively estimating these measures to discuss conceptual differences
between some of the projects and some of the remaining measurement issues in the compilation
process that still pose challenges to arrive at robust results. These include conceptual discussions
on the basis for disposable income and the treatment of some specific items such as pension and
insurance transactions, as well as methodological issues such as methods to account for the top
of the distribution, how to distribute government transfers (in kind) and imputed flows such as
FISIM and imputed rent, account for the under-reporting of receipt of income in the household
surveys, and create internationally comparable measures with the national accounts structure.
This session would also include compilation of other measures of diversity such as gender and
family type to demonstrate how aggregate measures of economic activity are distributed across
the country’s population.
Pushing the Boundaries of the SNA
Organizer: Kyle Hood (Bureau of Economics Analysis, United States)
In this session, we seek to reassess or refine the boundaries that are defined by the 2008 SNA.
This can mean (but is not limited to) reassessing the boundaries between current production and
investments based on improved data availability, computational power, and economic theory;
redefining or refining the boundary between natural and produced resources; improving our
conception of the impact of anticipated and unanticipated price changes; or expanding the
transaction boundaries to include certain types of losses that are anticipated by one party or
another. The focus will be on improving the SNA by increasing its congruence with economic
theory, or by making its estimates better reflect economic reality as viewed by industry experts
Unconditional Basic Income
Organizers: Utz-Peter Reich (University of Applied Sciences, Mainz, Germany) and Ilja Kristian
Kavonius (European Central Bank)
In May 2016 the Swiss people were called upon to vote on an unusual proposal, the introduction
of a national law on unconditional basic income. Unconditional basic income is an income to
which every citizen of a nation has a legal claim, on no condition (such as a labour contract,
property ownership, or earlier contributions), and it is paid in addition to any income received
New as it is in actual politics the issue is not new in social discussions, in general. Many citizen
organizations advocate, and work for it. It is time the economic and social sciences take up the
topic and deal with it, investigating advantages and possibilities, and revealing disadvantages and
risks of the institution. Research must combine both micro and macro aspects. Micro studies of
income and of time use may deal with topics such as work incentives and disincentives,
administrative efficiency, and affordability while macro-statistics may look for consistency of
funding, and integration with social welfare, within the overall economy using social accounting
matrices, for example.
Timely Indicators of the Distribution of Income and Wealth
Organizers: Richard Tonkin (Office for National Statistics, United Kingdom) and Sofiya
Stoyanova (Office for National Statistics, United Kingdom)
In order to properly understand changes in households' material living conditions, it is important
to have measures which reflect the experience of the typical household, such as the median, as
well as other indicators which can provide a description of the distribution. However, the
complexities involved in collecting, processing and analysing household financial survey data (or
data from administrative sources) mean such indicators are typically only available with a
significant time lag.
The aim of this session is to highlight innovative approaches for providing more timely
information on material living conditions, in order to meet growing demand from users of
statistics. This may include work involving microsimulation and nowcasting, on the use of
current income data rather than for previous periods, or making use of subjective or other proxy
measures, along with the extent to which these are reliable indicators of living conditions.
Disability Measurement and prevalence and its Implications
Organizer: Surajit Deb (University of Delhi, India)
Given the nature of deprivations that disabled persons face related to the non-observance of their
education, employment, income and social rights, the group may be the largest marginalized
group in both the developing and developed world. The post-2015 development framework
adopted a social rights based approach in accordance with the guidelines of United Nations
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The United Nations Statistical
Commission is presently working through the Inter Agency Expert Group and the High Level
Group in framing the indicators framework to measure the progress made by disabled persons in
Social Development Goals (SDGs) implementation.
Disability is referenced in various parts of the SDGs in areas of education, growth and
employment, inequality, accessibility of human settlements, as well as data collection and
monitoring of the SDGs. The SDG goals that focus on persons with disabilities are: Goal 4:
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for
all; Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive
employment and decent work for all; Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries;
Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable; and Goal
17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable
Unfortunately, disability has remained an umbrella concept and disabled persons are never a
standardized group (World Bank 2010: World Disability Report, WHO 2015: World Health
Survey). While physical disabilities are observable, mental disabilities and disorders are not
always revealed. But one element that remains common to the group is that they are poor, have
limited education and employment and are therefore deprived of health opportunities. Given this
background, a session on the measurement and prevalence of disability and its implications is
proposed. Possible themes include: i) understanding the prevalence and nature of disability, ii)
relevance of disability related SDG targets and the state of country/regional preparedness, iii)
disability and health, education or job outcomes, or iv) the nexus between disability and poverty.
Improving the Measurement of Household Finances in Surveys
Organizers: Thomas Crossley (University of Essex, United Kingdom); Paul Fisher (University of
Essex, United Kingdom); and Joachim Winter (University of Munich, Germany)
Understanding the spending, saving and borrowing of households is critical for assessing living
standards and the sustainability of economic growth, including whether the current recovery is
being driven by unsustainable consumer spending. Data limitations constrain our understanding
of household financial circumstances and behaviour, and current micro data pose a number of
unresolved puzzles. For example, household expenditure surveys in the UK and the US suggest
that households with the lowest incomes spend as much as households with much higher
It is however not known whether this pattern is the result of measurement error in expenditure or
in income, or whether it reflects genuine borrowing or dissaving (and if so, whether that is
sustainable). Having data about the assets and debts of a household over time, in addition to
income and expenditure, would help to resolve this puzzle. Similar surveys indicate that richer
households save larger proportions of their incomes. However aggregate savings rates have not
increased over time as real incomes have increased. Again, this discrepancy could again be due
to measurement error or reflect true behaviours. Friedman of course suggested years ago that the
association between saving and income in micro-data was due to transitory income fluctuations.
However, econometric attempts to isolate the relationship between “permanent” income and
saving have not confirmed this. Better micro data on household finances is critical to making
progress in this area.
This session will examine recent developments in the collection of micro/survey data on
household finances. We are particularly interested in two kinds of developments:
(1) Incorporating new technologies for collecting financial data. This would include, for
example, the measurement of expenditures with receipt or bar code scanners, or
incorporating data from “financial aggregators” (like mint.com)
(2) Collecting all of income, consumption and wealth from the same households, and using
the identity (income – minus consumption = change in wealth) as an coherence tool to
improve the quality of the data (in the same way that National Accounts data are
improved by reference to accounting identities.)
Mobility, Opportunity and the Importance of Longitudinal Data
Organizer: David Johnson (University of Michigan, United States) and Markus Grabka (DIW
The presentations at the 34th General Conference suggested that we need to examine the
inequality of opportunity. The only way to examine the opportunity of people and their social
mobility is to use longitudinal data. 2018 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Panel Study of
Income Dynamics (PSID), the longest running household panel survey in the US. Beginning in
1968, the PSID has collected data on the same families and their descendants, making it the
cornerstone of data infrastructure for empirically based social science research. Other countries
have established longitudinal surveys, such as the German Social Economic Panel (GSOEP),
the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey. In addition,
researchers have linked administrative tax data over time to construct longitudinal panels.
Because of their long history and unique design of following adults and children, panel surveys
are uniquely positioned to address the next generation of emerging social and behavioral
research questions and related policy issues, including the opportunities faced by children and
adults, the effects of early life events on later life outcomes; and the changing dynamics of
economic status and poverty, and the social and economic mobility – both inter and intragenerations.
This session will celebrate the importance of longitudinal surveys and data. Papers will focus on
exploiting the unique aspects of these data, which could include measuring mobility,
constructing measures of opportunity and its distribution and changes over time, longitudinal or
life-time measures of income and poverty, and multi-generational poverty and well-being. The
session will include papers that make innovative use of longitudinal data – either surveys or
administratively linked data.
A Quarter Century Passes: A Retrospective Look at East Central Europe Economic
Transitions – and Country Stories Inspired by Them
Organizers: Thesia I. Garner (Bureau of Labor Statistics, United States), Martina Mysikova
(Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic), and Tomas
Zelinsky (Technical University of Kosice, Slovakia)
In the fall of 1989, people in East Central Europe (ECE) and other countries in the region began
to experience the freedoms that they had known decades before. With these freedoms came
changes that have affected individuals, families, and households. Early on there was optimism
with expectations of market economies. In some countries this optimism continued while in
others it wavered with the increasing demands of the self-provision of previously government
provided goods and services. Different countries made different choices regarding movements
toward open markets, greater choices in consumer demand, opportunities in labour markets, and
the challenges of production.
These choices have influenced country policies, economic structures, labor markets, and
institutions. The transition from centrally planned to market economies was new to economic
theory with no “prescriptions”. The earlier turbulent processes were later followed by external
factors such as joining the EU and other international organizations; these forced the countries to
apply the policies of these institutions and lose part of their national powers. Further changes in
the global economy that these countries have had to face -- such as the financial and economic
crisis, technological changes, globalization, and international migration -- have influenced the
well-being of societies in both positive and negative ways. Lessons learned from transition
processes in these countries have served as an inspiration to other countries around the world
(such as the Balkan countries and former republics of the Soviet Union) experiencing economic
transition, and at the same time can serve as a source of inspiration for countries facing transition
now or in the future.
The goal of this session is to examine the role of past choices and external factors through the
lens of the present as we evaluate well-being today with a look to the future. Papers in this
session will identify changes in incomes, deprivation, and well-being in ECE societies resulting
from different choices. Another papers ill analyze both successful and unsuccessful
implementation stories from countries inspired by ECE countries transition processes. Preference
will be given to papers that incorporate multidimensional perspectives.
The Use of Financial Accounts and Balance Sheets in Enhancing Central Bank Policy
Analysis and Tools
Organizer: Ilja Kristian Kavonius (European Central Bank)
The current economic crisis has increased the interest of central banks in balance sheet analysis
and in distributional issues. Additionally, there is an increasing interest in understanding balance
sheet exposures and the transmission mechanisms of balance sheet exposures.
Financial accounts framework provides one possible avenue for this type of analysis. In recent
years, different types of analysis for the macro-prudential analysis have been developed in which
for instance who-to-whom networks are used to analyse balance sheet exposures. Different tools
have been developed to enhance the analysis of indebtedness and distresses of various sectors.
Moreover, there are various initiatives to deepen the analysis either by linking the
macroeconomic balance sheets with micro data or by creating supranational network of balance
Proposals discussing either new statistical features or the use of the financial accounts
framework in developing tools and analysis for macro-prudential, economic or monetary policy
purposes are invited for this session.