Anthony B. Atkinson — 1944-2017

Tony Atkinson, Foto: N. Caranti

Am Neujahrstag ist Tony Atkinson, der wohl bedeutendste Ungleichheitsforscher unserer Zeit, verstorben. Sein Werk prägte eine ganze Generation von Ungleichheitsforschern unter den Ökonomen. Noch im vorvergangenen Jahr veröffentlichte er das Buch „Inequality – What Can Be Done?“, in dem er wesentliche Befunde und Politikempfehlungen seines Forschungsprogramms zur ökonomischen Ungleichheit mit speziellem Fokus auf Großbritannien, zusammentrug. Wichtige Punkte finden sich hier im Blog zusammengefasst. Eine Auflistung von 15 zugespitzen Politikempfehlungen zur Reduzierung der Ungleichheit lässt sich hier und unten im Anhang nachlesen.

Anthony Atkinson hinterlässt in der Community der Ungleichheitsforscher*innen eine große Lücke. Er wird fehlen im Ringen um Aufklärung zur ökonomischen Ungleichheit.

Der Ungleichheitsforscher Thomas Piketty bezeichnet Atkinson in einem persönlichen Nachruf als radikalen Reformer und als „generous and rigourous scholar“, der ihn und andere Ungleichheitsforscher wie kein anderer inspiriert habe:

Passing of Anthony B. Atkinson

In deutscher Übersetzung ist Pikettys Nachruf im Makronom-Magazin erschienen.

Zahlreiche persönliche Erinnerungen an Atkinson wurden auf den Seiten der London School of Economics gesammelt.

In Nachrufen in den großen Zeitungen wird Atkinson geehrt, darunter

  • sowie der taz (Ulrike Herrmann)

Viele Ökonomen und Autoren äußerten sich betroffen auf Twitter und bekundeten ihre Wertschätzung für den britischen Forscher, darunter

  • der US-Ökonom und Kolumnist der New York Times Paul Krugman:
  • der profilierte Ungleichheitsforscher Branko Milanovic, dessen neues Buch gerade in deutscher Übersetzung erschienen ist:
  • der niederländische Ökonom Robert Went:
  • Gabriel Zucman, Schüler von Thomas Piketty – also sozusagen die dritte Generation von Ungleichheitsforschern seit Atkinson:
  • der Steuerflucht-Forscher Alex Cobham:


  • der Autor des New Yorker John Cassidy:

  • der „Economics Editor“ der Financial Times Chris Giles:


The 15 Proposals from Tony Atkinson’s ‘Inequality – What can be done?’

Source: http://www.tony-atkinson.com/the-15-proposals-from-tony-atkinsons-inequality-what-can-be-done/

Proposal 1: The direction of technological change should be an explicit concern of policy-makers, encouraging innovation in a form that increases the employability of workers and emphasises the human dimension of service provision.

Proposal 2: Public policy should aim at a proper balance of power among stakeholders, and to this end should

(a) introduce an explicitly distributional dimension into competition policy;

(b) ensure a legal framework that allows trade unions to represent workers on level terms; and

(c) establish, where it does not already exist, a Social and Economic Council involving the social partners and other nongovernmental bodies.

Proposal 3: The government should adopt an explicit target for preventing and reducing unemployment and underpin this ambition by offering guaranteed public employment at the minimum wage to those who seek it.

Proposal 4: There should be a national pay policy, consisting of two elements: a statutory minimum wage set at a living wage, and a code of practice for pay above the minimum, agreed as part of a “national conversation” involving the Social and Economic Council.

Proposal 5: The government should offer via national savings bonds a guaranteed positive real rate of interest on savings, with a maximum holding per person.

Proposal 6: There should be a capital endowment (minimum inheritance) paid to all at adulthood.

Proposal 7: A public Investment Authority should be created, operating a sovereign wealth fund with the aim of building up the net worth of the state by holding investments in companies and in property.

Proposal 8: We should return to a more progressive rate structure for the personal income tax, with marginal rates of tax increasing by ranges of taxable income, up to a top rate of 65 per cent, accompanied by a broadening of the tax base.

Proposal 9: The government should introduce into the personal income tax an Earned Income Discount, limited to the first band of earnings.

Proposal 10: Receipts of inheritance and gifts inter vivos should be taxed under a progressive lifetime capital receipts tax.

Proposal 11: There should be a proportional, or progressive, property tax based on up-to-date property assessments.

Proposal 12: Child Benefit should be paid for all children at a substantial rate and should be taxed as income.

Proposal 13: A participation income should be introduced at a national level, complementing existing social protection, with the prospect of an EU-wide child basic income.

Proposal 14 (alternative to 13): There should be a renewal of social insurance, raising the level of benefits and extending their coverage.

Proposal 15: Rich countries should raise their target for Official Development Assistance to 1 per cent of Gross National Income.

Alongside these proposals are several possibilities to explore further:

Idea to pursue: a thoroughgoing review of the access of households to the credit market for borrowing not secured on housing.

Idea to pursue: examination of the case for an “income-tax-based” treatment of contributions to private pensions, along the lines of present “privileged” savings schemes, which would bring forward the payment of tax.

Idea to pursue: a re-examination of the case for an annual wealth tax and the prerequisites for its successful introduction.

Idea to pursue: a global tax regime for personal taxpayers, based on total wealth.

Idea to pursue: a minimum tax for corporations.

Source: http://www.tony-atkinson.com/the-15-proposals-from-tony-atkinsons-inequality-what-can-be-done/

Hinweis: Die Liste der Nachrufe wurde am 6. und 10. Januar ergänzt

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