Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Agenda

Muhammad Usman Mirza

Date: 04 February 2020
Time: 13:30 - 15:00
Location: Auditorium, Wageningen University

Dissertation title: 

Complexity in Inequality

Group: Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management, Wageningen University

Promotor: Prof. Dr M. Scheffer
Co-promotors: Dr E.H. van Nes and Dr A.P. Richter

Abstract:

This thesis explores three interrelated research streams. First, I am interested in the very fundamental and ancient question about the functioning of our societies – why are some individuals or countries rich and others poor? Under this broad question, I aim to understand the drivers of inequality, that traverse the artificial boundaries between economic, social and natural sciences. Second, I study inequality, as being complex and governed by highly interconnected processes such as technology, globalization, trade and migration. These processes can be highly nonlinear causing cyclical behaviour and/or critical transitions such as tipping points. Third, using dynamic models and empirical data, I explain the flow of information between heterogeneous agents, including individuals, households or countries, and how these interactions define the emergent dynamics of inequality. Heterogeneous individuals interact not only inside economic systems but also across systems, such as with the environment and climate. Furthermore, these interactions are governed by formal and informal rules, such as institutions, social norms and agreements.

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