BERKELEY, CA — Wealth inequality exceeds historic records in the United States, as can be clearly seen in the research done by Gabriel Zucman, Associate Professor of Economics at the UC Berkeley Department of Economics and Faculty Director of The James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Center on Wealth and Income Inequality at UC Berkeley. Thanks to a new gift of $4.85 million to the Stone Center, Zucman and co-directors Professor Emmanuel Saez and Professor Hilary Hoynes will lead an expansion of the Center’s work on the study of wealth and income inequality. This most recent investment in the UC Berkeley Stone Center brings the total amount of funding provided by the Stone Foundation to $6,350,000 following the Stone Foundation’s initial investment in 2020.
The gift, made by the James and M. Cathleen D. Stone Foundation, will encourage and enable the Stone Center to expand its role as a leading venue for research, teaching, and data development concerning the causes, nature, and consequences of wealth and income inequality from a global perspective, with a focus on the top of the wealth and income distribution. “Berkeley economists have been revolutionizing the study of inequality for decades, yet there is still so much we do not know,” says Chancellor Carol T. Christ. “This gift from the Stone Foundation will enable our faculty and scholars — key partners in a global network of Stone Centers — to build on their groundbreaking research and push for new knowledge, tools, and change in narrowing the gap between the richest and poorest Americans.”
Indeed, the work done by Professors Zucman and Emmanuel Saez at Berkeley Economics has been noted for its groundbreaking research on the distribution of income and wealth, and in particular the creation of pioneering distributional national accounts for the U.S. — comprehensive estimates of income and wealth inequality combining all available sources in a rigorous, consistent, internationally-comparable framework.
“It is just the beginning of a decades-long research program that ultimately could transform the way we do economics by putting distributional issues back at the center of the discipline,” said Zucman. “It is wonderful to be able to count on the support of the Stone Foundation for the next steps of this long-run research agenda.”
Now, the Stone Center will be enabled to hire junior and senior faculty positions, create a summer academy pilot, and offer research grants. Additionally, the gift will support the expansion of the center through visiting/postdoctoral scholars, PhD student fellowships, and administrative support.
The James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Center on Wealth and Income Inequality at UC Berkeley is a research hub for campus and beyond, enabling Berkeley’s world-leading scholars to deepen understanding of the inequality in society and formulate new approaches to address the challenge of creating a more equitable society. The Center serves as the primary convening point at UC Berkeley for research, teaching, and data development concerning the causes, nature, and consequences of wealth and income inequalities with a special emphasis on the concentration of wealth at the very top. Current faculty members include Gabriel Zucman, Emmanuel Saez, Hilary Hoynes, and Mathilde Muñoz, who will be joining Berkeley Economics as assistant professor after a one-year post-doctoral appointment at the UC Berkeley Stone Center.
“At its very core, Berkeley is animated by its commitment to the democratic enterprise and the intrinsic equality of all people,” said Raka Ray, Dean of the Social Sciences Division. “For this reason, we are exceptionally pleased by this transformational gift, which will help the Stone Center at UC Berkeley to continue developing and disseminating policy ideas to foster a democratic, well-informed, and inclusive global public debate.”