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Branko Milanovic

Presidential Professor, Graduate Center, City University of New York

Branko Milanovic is Presidential Professor at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center, as well as Senior Scholar at the Luxembourg Income Survey.

Previously, he served as lead economist in the World Bank’s Development Research Group and as 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 2011 book, The Haves and the Have-Nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality (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 the distribution in one country or a group of countries).

Articles by Branko Milanovic

A 18th Century’s French Economist and Xi Jinping’s China

François Quesnay explained why he and the other “Physiocrats” regarded imperial China as the ideal kingdom. No wonder Xi Jinping must like that view.

February 4, 2024

Paperless China?

The abolition of paper is in full swing in the country that invented it.

January 7, 2024

Thinkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution

What did 1968 accomplish?

September 30, 2023

The Many Dimensions of Adam Smith

Every ideological movement has a penchant to “cloth” itself in earlier writers and to appropriate some of their aura. Adam Smith is a prime example.

June 22, 2023

Can the West Abandon Globalization?

Going back to mercantilism and trade blocs.

April 28, 2023

Is Norway the New East India Company?

A tale of gas and oil, opium and hypocrisy: If climate activists are unable to convince the richest country in the world of the benefits of climate control, how do they plan to convince Mexico, Nigeria or Russia?

August 26, 2021

The Non-exemplary Lives of Economists

Can privileged social scientists produce great breakthroughs?

July 28, 2021

Putin’s Oligarchs and Yeltsin’s Oligarchs: All the Same?

The Putin oligarchs are billionaires who serve at the discretion of the state. The original Yeltsin-type oligarchs owned the state.

November 13, 2019

Is Economic Autarky Russia’s Only Option?

Even Chinese entities, if they themselves plan to do business or raise money in the United States, will avoid doing business with Russian entities.

May 4, 2018

Will the Bourgeoisie Ever Rule in China?

Applying Marx’s theories to today’s Communist China.

March 25, 2018

The Harsh Realism of Adam Smith

Adam Smith was no blind worshipper of the market economy. He pointed to many of the deformations of human behavior that we still deplore today.

February 11, 2018

“Nice” China? The Aloofness of Pax Sinica

Given its inherent sense of superiority, could China -- once a global hegemon -- be more peaceful than its Western (and especially U.S.) predecessors?

January 18, 2018

Dining Alone in a Hyper-Competitive World

What can solo dining tell us about the way of life we lead?

December 24, 2017

Tackling Global Inequality

Why can't 20th century tools be used to address 21st century income inequality?

December 21, 2017

Ending Inequality Between Countries: Not By Trade Alone

Is a world of approximately equal country incomes really possible to envisage any time soon?

October 11, 2017

Colonialism Applied to Europe: Mazower’s “Hitler’s Empire”

The most distinctive character of the Second World War is that it was Nazi Germany's war of extermination in Russia.

August 5, 2017

Migration Vs. the Welfare State?

A self-fulfilling prophecy of failure: Welfare states attract a lot of unskilled migrants who fail to assimilate. A political disaster is looming.

May 16, 2017

Trump: The West’s Gorbachev?

Will Trump have a similarly devastating effect on democracies that Gorbachev had on Communism?

January 20, 2017

Can Inequality Be Reduced?

What are the realistic options to tackle the scourge of crass inequality in rich welfare states?

December 24, 2016

Time to Ditch Rawls?

We now live in a world where liberal democracies, principally the United States, do not affirm the principles of liberalism.

August 6, 2016

For Whom the Wall Fell? A Balance Sheet of the Transition to Capitalism

Only 1 out of 10 people living in “transition” countries have seen a successful transition to capitalism and more democracy.

November 7, 2014

Global Economics between Jerusalem and Athens

What is the ultimate destination of economic history?

March 13, 2014

The Economic Causes of Migration

After Lampedusa: Should the world be composed of gated communities?

October 22, 2013

The Balkans: Europe’s Soft Underbelly

Can Europe prosper while ignoring the Balkans? Anyone remember what triggered the first world war?

June 1, 2013

Inequality and Democratic Capitalism

Was the second half of the 20th century — when capitalism became entwined with democracy, the welfare state and liberalism — just an unusual interlude?

March 15, 2013

The Real Winners and Losers of Globalization

Globalization has radically changed global income dynamics. So who has won and who has lost?

October 25, 2012

Adam Smiths of Capital, Friedrich Lists of Labor

Why do people who consider themselves pro-free market take radically different positions on the mobility of capital and labor?

June 4, 2012

Ending the Rich-World Bias in Global Economic Statistics

The current economic crisis is called the "global financial crisis." But is the term "global" justified?

March 21, 2012

Who Was the Richest Person Ever?

Marcus Crassus, John D. Rockefeller, Carlos Slim, Mikhail Khodorovsky — who's the richest of them all?

October 21, 2011