Disruptive Technologies, Inequalities, and Law

Working Groups: Finance, Law and Economics and Inequality

People working on economic inequality often tend to assume that “inequality” is a singular word, and that there is no need to add any adjective. When, for instance, debating about Technology and Jobs - the theme of this year’s edition of the Festival - it is easy to forget about broader approaches to these topics in other social sciences.

Technology is often cited as contributing to rising inequality, for example, AI, automation, and sharing platforms are often associated with increasing economic insecurity for workers. Recently, inequality has increasingly become the center of multidisciplinary attention, from the social sciences, law, and economics, and has seen the emergence of specific, separate institutions devoted to the study of social inequalities.

To reflect and encourage this multidisciplinarity, the Inequality Working Group (IWG) and the Finance, Law, and Economics Working Group (FLE) will dedicate their sessions in Trento to exploring the different approaches to inequality issues, with a special focus on the interaction among economics, law, and sociology.

In the long period in which economics neglected distributive issues, sociologists have been pursuing qualitative and quantitative approaches to the topic, while legal scholars have considered issues such as institutional and regulatory design to achieve equality.

We welcome contributions addressing the challenges arising from the interaction of emerging technologies, the (existing or prospective)  legal and institutional frameworks, and the different inequalities that are subsequently materialised, in relation (but not limited) to the following topics: 

  • social mobility;

  • education and inequality;

  • legal / institutional design;

  • regulation of disruptive innovation;

  • access to justice;

  • policy and regulatory evaluation;

  • labour markets.

We encourage young scholars to analyse these issues from their own disciplines but taking into consideration the diverse backgrounds of the fellow scholars in the discussion. The aim of the session(s) is to engage in a multidisciplinary debate by breaking down the disciplinary barriers and overcoming the deeply-rooted assumptions. A session will also be dedicated to work on the Wiki on Inequality which the Inequality Working Group is launching.