June 18, 2024
Written by WID.world

World Inequality Lab Receives Grant from Good Council for Redistribution

The Guter Rat für Rückverteilung (Good Council for Redistribution) has awarded the World Inequality Lab (WIL) a grant of €640,000 to provide better data on wealth distribution in Austria, to strengthen research in this area and to make the results of the research available to a broader public.

Earlier this year, Marlene Engelhorn, an Austro-German heiress, committed to forming a citizens’ group to decide how to allocate the €25 million she inherited from her grandmother. As an heir to one of Europe’s largest chemical and pharmaceutical fortunes, Engelhorn has spent the last three years advocating for increased taxation on the wealthy. She is part of a movement of wealthy young people striving to reform the systems that enabled their wealth accumulation.

Engelhorn entrusted her wealth to a randomly selected group of 50 Austrian citizens, representative of the population. Over six weekends, these citizens engaged with experts on topics such as wealth distribution and its impact on politics and society in Austria. This citizens’ assembly concluded in June 2024.


In a letter to the WIL, the citizens of the council wrote:

“Through our discussions about wealth distribution and its effects in Austria, we have realised that there are considerable deficits when it comes to research on wealth distribution in Austria. In particular, there is hardly any reliable data on the extremely weatlhy. The lack of reliable data makes objective and fact-based public and political debates difficult.”


Reacting to the news, Thomas Piketty, WIL’s codirector, said:

“Over the years, the World Inequality Lab has built the largest open source to track inequality trends all over the world. We are working with a community of 200 researchers throughout the world to forge a global public good and pressure governments and corporations to enhance democratic transparency about income and wealth. Thanks to this support of €640.000, we will be better able to fund PhD students and postdocs in order to study wealth inequality in Austria, across Europe, and globally, addressing the greatest challenges of our time”.

The Good Council for Redistribution decided together to redistribute 25 million euros.



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