UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Spotlight On..... Dr Marco Ranaldi

22 October 2021

Spotlight on Dr Marco Ranaldi, Lecturer in Economics

Marco Ranaldi

What brought to you work at SSEES?

I value a lot being in a centre that is multidisciplinary. Moreover, SSEES’ research focus on the comparative studies of emerging economies is very appealing for someone like me who is interested in studying the dynamics of economic inequality across countries

If you weren’t working in academia, what would be your dream job?

Good question. If I weren’t working in academia I would have, perhaps, been an actor, or a journalist, travelling across the (mostly developing) world. Or a documentary filmmaker. Or a combination of the three.  

Can you tell us a bit about your research/teaching and why it’s important to study this?

My work focuses on economic inequality and has two main components. One component is theoretical, the other empirical. The theoretical part of my work aims to find new methods to unveil novel regularities (stylized facts) pertaining to economic inequality. In the past years, for instance, I developed an indicator that measures the level of a country’s compositional inequality in terms of capital and labour income. A high level of compositional inequality implies that those at the top of the income ladder earns only from capital, whilst those at the bottom only from labour. Under high compositional inequality, hence, an economy can be seen as “class-based”. Under a low level of compositional inequality such stark distinction between “rich capitalists” and “poor workers” is, instead, no longer present. The empirical part of my work applies these analytical methods to study the real world. In a recent work with Branko Milanovic, we find that Latin American countries display high levels of compositional inequality, as opposed to Western countries (like European countries) that display low levels of this inequality dimension. My empirical work also focuses on the global dimension of economic inequality. This is about studying the way incomes of the individuals across the globe distribute, and evolve across time.

Outside of work, how do you unwind?

I am pretty much into climbing and meditating. And, although this may sound obvious, spending time with friends recharges me quite a lot!

If you could recommend only one book, what would it be?

A Sun for the Dying, by Jean Claude Izzo. From the very moment I read this book, my perspective of the homeless and their precarious lives has suddenly, drastically changed. 

What is your biggest professional achievement to date?

The academic world can be harsh sometimes. I am happy that, despite all the ups and downs, my desire to make new discoveries is, undoubtedly, what drives my work.