The Annual Hicks Lecture 2023

The Annual Hicks Lecture 2023

The Oxford Department of Economics is pleased to host the Annual Hicks Lecture 2023, delivered by Professor Danny Quah (Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS). Professor Quah will present 'Income Inequality as Sufficient Statistic: Poster Child of All Social Ills. Or Whipping Boy?'. The event will take place at 17:30 - 18:30 on 27th February 2022 and will be followed by a drinks reception for in-person attendees.


Where: Lecture Theatre, Manor Road Building, Oxford

When: Monday 27th February 2023, 17:30 - 18:30


Register for FREE here


About this lecture - Many social challenges have been said recently to reflect the deep inequalities in society. Observers have hypothesised, for instance that, as just one example, the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the poor becoming even poorer. However, as a matter of logic, this immiserisation of those already poor is independent of the existence of the rich. What hobbles someone's fight against the coronavirus is their resource-inadequacy, not the fact that someone else in society happens to have more than they do. This paper argues that, outside of zero-sum games, income inequality is no sufficient statistic, and its causality for social ills suspect. The paper develops evidence that suggests the reason inequality matters in the public perception is not rational but, instead, simply correlated noise, i.e., a bubble.


About the speaker


danny quah portrait

Danny Quah

NUS:  Dean and Li Ka Shing Professor in Economics

Danny Quah is Li Ka Shing Professor in Economics and Dean at the School. His research interests lie in income inequality, economic growth, and international economic relations. Quah’s work takes an economic approach to world order - focusing on global power shift and the rise of the east, and alternative models of global power relations. The economic approach emerges in that Quah’s work studies the supply and demand of world order: What international system do the world’s superpowers wish to provide; what world order does the global community need? Quah’s work on income inequality sets the challenge against a broader background of social mobility and cohesion, and in so doing suggests a single narrative on the challenge of income inequality is unlikely to be correct or helpful.




About the Hicks Lecture Series


The Sir John Hicks Memorial Lecture has run since 1998. 


Sir John Hicks was one of the most foremost and influential economists of the 20th Century. In 1946, Hicks returned to Nuffield College as a Research Fellow (1946–1952) and went on to become Drummond Professor of Political Economy (1952–1965) and finally as a research fellow of All Souls College (1965–1971), where he continued writing after his retirement.