The James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Foundation donated £ 5million ($ 7million) to establish the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Center on Concentration of Wealth, Inequality and economy at UCL.
Societal concerns about wealth inequality have never been greater. The mission of the UCL Stone Center will be to advance research and teaching to better understand the causes of wealth inequalities and their economic and political consequences.
The donation will support the existing Curriculum Open-access Resources in Economics (CORE) project and fund research and education, creating a global hub that will transform economics education.
The Center will make education and research equal partners in the enterprise. It combines the CORE project, which is transforming the teaching of economics on a global scale by focusing on the most important issues facing our societies, with the research center of the Department of Economics at UCL. It will provide a global hub for research and learning that will place the concentration of wealth and its impacts on innovation and sustainability at the heart of economics education.
Taking a broad and new perspective, the Center will bring new theories, evidence and data to better understand the causes and consequences of concentrated material wealth, and to design policy interventions to mitigate the extent and adverse consequences. These include disparities not only in living standards, but also in voice and dignity, as the experiences of the pandemic most recently revealed.
The Center will work closely with UCL’s new Policy Lab (a collaboration between UCL’s departments of economics and political science) to disseminate research findings, policy advice and new educational resources to a broad audience, including policymakers, the media, and public and private sector leaders.
The benefits of the Centre’s work will extend beyond the social sciences, with implications for teaching and research in a wide range of disciplines, including political science, geography, education, the built environment, public health, history, ethics and regional studies.
The co-directors of the Center are Wendy Carlin, professor of economics and founding director of the CORE project and Imran Rasul, professor of economics and co-director of the ESRC Center for Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policies at IFS.
UCL’s Stone Center will begin work this fall.
Jim Stone recalls (in a recent book-length letter to his children): “The realization at the age of 13 that some people were endowed with great hereditary status and great wealth. while other souls, sometimes more worthy and more able, were hungry was enough to set my compass. . Everything else flowed from it. He now adds to this thought: “My wife Cathy and I share the opinion that the study of wealth inequalities is worthy of our greatest philanthropic commitment.”
Thanking Jim and Cathy Stone, Dr Michael Spence, President and Rector of UCL, said:
“The pandemic has highlighted the issue of economic equality and the distribution of wealth and the fight against economic inequalities and their impacts will be at the heart of the construction of a more just post-Covid world on a global scale. . This is an extremely timely intervention and will be a transformative addition to UCL’s work to advance equality and social justice in the UK and globally. I am delighted to see the Center establish itself here and I am extremely grateful to Jim and Cathy Stone for their generosity, vision and ambition.
Welcoming the Foundation’s donation, Professor Sasha Roseneil, Dean of Social and Historical Sciences at UCL and Provost (Equity and Inclusion), said:
“One of the most important aspects of the Stone Center at UCL is its fundamental intention to develop a rigorous wealth inequality education program based on the Centre’s research. This will ensure that the next generation of economists will be equipped to develop effective policies to tackle this pressing problem. This makes the creation of the Stone Center not only a generous and transformative gift for UCL, but, more importantly, a great gift for future generations.
Nobel Laureate in Economics Professor Sir Angus Deaton said:
“It’s hard to imagine a better time for a new Center focused on wealth inequalities. Wealth has too long been under-studied, undervalued and under-taught in economics, and yet understanding who has it, who doesn’t and why, is essential to understanding how economies serve or don’t serve their people. members. I extend a warm and enthusiastic welcome to the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Center at UCL.
Dani Rodrik, Harvard University and President of the International Economic Association, said:
“This is a wonderful initiative that will add tremendous strength to UCL’s distinguished research and teaching on inequalities and the economy. I’m especially excited that this expands CORE’s global reach, to bring economics education into the 21stst century.”