Towards a Political Economy of Austerity, Inequality, Asymmetry

19 June 2013, 12:30 - 18:15

CRASSH, Seminar room SG1, Ground floor

Online registration is now closed.

Fee: £5.00 (incl lunch)




Market Square Workshop

The Market Square research group focused this year on the application and on the emerging of key concepts at the convergence of economy, polity and society. The exchange between different disciplinary dimensions allowed a contamination and migration of ideas across contexts. Austerity, Inequality and Asymmetry are among the conceptual tools which enable the outline of a suitable economic politics for current times and for specific geographical and applicative contexts. The relationship between those and other concepts arises and deletes dichotomies that the group has been working on during the year and that are explored in the workshop as well. Austerity, as a macroeconomic consensus and a collective guideline for individual consumption, Inequality as a shared intuition behind economic motives and a common political obstacle beyond the tactics of political disagreement, Asymmetry as the precondition of development and the fabric of economic activity in its distinction from other human interactions, these are all outstanding elements of a certain season in the political history, namely the current one, or, analytically, of a path towards a Political Economy.

At the same time the communications between economists and other figures, among social scientists and humanists, emerged as a key element to guide a similar research to successful results, becoming an object of analysis itself both from a historical standpoint and from the one of an engagements in today's challenges.


Session 1
Austerity, expansion and the restructuring of the political domain

A policy of austerity like the one that has been tested in the Eurozone in recent years is susceptible to be understood at different levels of analysis. A Political Economy for current times and for the our markets demands the highest level of political and economic realism achievable, in order to identify the right tools to address the main economic issues in front of us. 

Session 2
Politics of inequality: austerity and asymmetry between groups and countries

The issue of inequality is at the basis of the construction of alliances between social and economic groups and it helps identifying the core of the strategic behaviour by key players in a world where the roles enjoyed by advanced economies towards developing ones. Moreover, in presence of inequality and strategic asymmetries, an age of austerity demands a reconsideration of the relationship between Political Economy and economic policy.

Wednesday 19 June 2013


13.15 - 14.15

Registration and lunch

14.15 - 14.25

Welcome and Introduction
Gian Paolo Faella (Scuola Normale Superiore)

14.25 - 16.05





Session 1
Austerity, expansion and the restructuring of the political domain
Chair: Ivano Cardinale (University of Cambridge)

Define Realism. Economic austerity and political emotions
Olivier Tonneau (University of Cambridge)

Austerity certainly pays, but only in the very long-run and within a decentralized and self-controlled federal political system.
Mauro Baranzini (Università della Svizzera Italiana)
Amalia Mirante (Università della Svizzera Italiana)


16.05 - 16.25

Tea/Coffee break 

16.25 - 18.05

Session 2
Politics of inequality: austerity and asymmetry between groups and countries.
Chair: Antonio Andreoni (University of Cambridge)

More than globalization of inequality, the complementarity of contrasted unequality regimes (China, US, EU and Latin America)
Robert Boyer (École Normale Supérieure)

Economic Policy in an Age of Austerity: Insights from behavioural Economics
Michelle Baddeley (University College London)


18.05 -18.15

Concluding remarks
Roberto Scazzieri (Università di Bologna and Centro Linceo Interdisciplinare; University of Cambridge)

18.15 - 19.15

Round Table Discussion
Chair: Richard Arena (Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis)