5077 Sustainable Economics and Business II: Causes and consequences of inequality
Judith Derndorfer, M.Sc.Ph.D., Tamara Premrov, MSc.
Contact details
Weekly hours
Language of instruction
02/15/24 to 03/04/24
Registration via LPIS
Notes to the course
Subject(s) Bachelor Programs
Day Date Time Room
Thursday 03/07/24 01:00 PM - 04:30 PM TC.3.06
Thursday 03/21/24 01:00 PM - 04:00 PM TC.2.03
Thursday 04/11/24 01:00 PM - 04:00 PM TC.1.01 OeNB
Thursday 04/25/24 01:00 PM - 04:00 PM D5.1.002
Thursday 05/02/24 01:00 PM - 04:00 PM TC.3.03
Thursday 05/16/24 01:00 PM - 04:00 PM TC.3.03
Thursday 05/23/24 01:00 PM - 05:00 PM D4.0.127

In this course we will analyze causes and consequences of different dimensions of socio-economic inequalities and how they are interconnected with each other. We will discuss how inequality can be measured and how it evolved over time at the national, European, and global level and why it matters in terms of different outcomes, such as environmental degradation, democracy, social mobility, health, etc. Moreover, the course will cover inequality between different groups based on class, gender, race, or age and how this challenges the notion of equality of opportunity. Last, students will learn that institutions and public policies are influential in shaping the extent of inequality and what policies can be successful in reducing inequality.

After successful completion of this course, you will have an overview over current academic debates on inequality and theories that explain the rise and potential consequences of inequality. You will gain knowledge on how inequality is measured and why different measurements can yield to different results and conclusions. Furthermore, you will have a better understanding on how different dimensions of socio-economic inequalities impact each other and that we need a set of different policies to counteract growing disparities between and within countries.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of the course students will

•    have acquired an understanding on why inequality matters

•    obtain transferable skills such as self-reflection, sensibility of diversity and understanding of complex relationships that are the economy

•    will be able to read critically and interpret academic literature to inform their discussions and evaluations of those challenges

•    will be able translate scientific findings into everyday language

•    work as team to present solutions to reduce levels of inequality



Attendance requirements

Examination-immanent courses (PI) are compulsory. A minimum attendance of 80% is required. In case of absence, please inform the lecturer in advance. No makeup assignments will be provided in case of missed assessments. The first three sections are particularly important and attendance is essential.

Teaching/learning method(s)

The course is based on
•    Lectures
•    Compulsory readings
•    Quizzes
•    Discussions
•    Small assignments



A perquisite for successful completion of the class is to read the weekly readings.

The final grade is a weighted sum of four

  • Quizzes (individual) (25 %)
  • Participation in in-class (individual) (25 %)
  • In-class / at-home assignments (individual) (25 %)
  • Short final presentation of a policy proposal (group) (25 %)

Quizzes (25 %)

There will be a short quiz in each lecture, except in the last lecture. There will be about 5 questions in each quiz. The content is the key reading of the week. Overall, there will be six quizzes, however, only 5 quizzes count (25%). If you participate in more than 5 quizzes, you get extra points for the correct answers (50+).

Active Participation in class (25 %)

Discussions in class will be based on readings students have to read before class. There is a reading list provided on learn@wu. Students are required to read the weekly compulsory reading. All the readings are provided on learn@wu as pdf or hyperlink.

In-class / at-home group assignments (25 %)

Most classes will feature smaller exercises. Results have to be submitted to learn@wu.

Short Presentation of a Policy Proposal (25 %)

Groups of students present a policy proposal from Tony Atkinson (2015): Inequality – What Can be Done? The presentation should not take longer than 10 minutes. The relevant literature will be provided on learn@wu.



Prerequisites for participation and waiting lists

Course enrollment is on the basis of "first-come, first-served” principle. If you have registered but cannot participate in the course, please de-register via LPIS during the registration period so that your course is available to students on the waiting list. If there is a waiting list for enrollment in the course, students at the waiting list will be notified after the end of the enrollment period, and will be allocated to available places. Students will be ranked by their study progress not by their rank on the waiting list. This procedure, however, is not to be understood as a place guarantee.


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Availability of lecturer(s)
Last edited: 2024-01-15