Branko Milanovic is a lead economist in the World Bank research department and a visiting professor at the University of Maryland. During his 25-year career as an economist, his main area of research has been income distribution. This gap was the subject of his recent book, The Haves and the Have-Nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality (2011, Basic Books).
He likes to point out that his dissertation was on income inequality in the former socialist Yugoslavia, with the country disappearing four years after the dissertation was successfully defended. He moved on to studying income inequality during the transition in Eastern Europe, and with the integration of most of these countries into the European Union that specific topic disappeared as well.
After these projects, he dedicated himself to the study of income distribution on the worldwide level (as opposed to distribution in one country or a group of countries). He does not believe in the Mayan 2012 prophecy — and is thus quite certain that his current research will not (soon) follow the fate of the previous two.