PhD Program "The Political Economy of Inequality"

Kolloquium Winter 2019/20

The PhD program

The PhD program „Political Economy of Inequality” investigates extent, causes, and consequences of rising socio-economic inequality. While economic aspects of inequality are a key focus of the research, they are always contextualized with non-economic dimensions of inequality. Political, social, and ecological causes and consequences of material inequality are systematically integrated into the analysis. The research at the Institute for Socio-Economics is characterized by an interdisciplinary and applied socioeconomic approach. It integrates economic inequality research, political economy and economic sociology, as well as current economic and social policy reform discourses on an equal footing.

PhD fellows will actively participate in the Institute and be provided with numerous opportunities for further academic qualification (methods courses, summer school, international research stays). Apart from an outstanding scientific profile, the concrete societal and political relevance of socio-economic inequality will be a mainstay of the PhD program.

Scientific direction

The PhD program is led by Prof. Dr. Till van Treeck (Institute for Socio-Economics, UDE, speaker), Prof. Dr. Jakob Kapeller (Institute for Socio-Economics, UDE), Prof. Dr. Ute Klammer (Institute for Work and Qualification, UDE), Prof. Dr. Paul Marx (Institute for Socio-Economics, UDE), Prof. Miriam Rehm, PhD (Institute for Socio-Economics, UDE), and Prof. Dr. Achim Truger (Institute for Socio-Economics, UDE).

Research topics

The following research questions are at the centre of the PhD program:

  1. What is the extent and what are the reasons for economic inequality in Germany and in an international perspective?
  2. What are the consequences of rising income and wealth inequality in Germany and in an international perspective?
  3. What are the social and political effects of rising income and wealth inequality in various national and regional contexts? How do these effects in turn affect inequality?
  4. How can a trend to rising inequality be reversed?

Structured program

The program is offered by the Institute for Socio-Economics in conjunction with the Institute for Work and Qualification, as well as other partners. It covers a regular seminar, methods courses, a summer school, regular topical mini courses, workshops for science communication, and the opportunity for both national and international visiting research stays. PhD fellows will have access to the extensive support program of the Hans Böckler Foundation.


Applications are currently closed.


PhD fellows currently receive a stipend of 1.450€ (including 1.350€ basic scholarship and 100€ research allowance 100€). In addition, stipends can comprise up to 100€ health insurance grant and family allowance, if applicable. The maximum duration of stipends is three years. PhD fellows will be allocated workspaces at the University of Duisburg-Essen. Reliable presence in Duisburg is expected.

Selection of PhD fellows will follow guidelines of the Federal Ministry of Education and research and the selection criteria of the Hans Böckler Foundation (, German only). Apart from outstanding graduate studies at the MA/Diploma (or equivalent) level, applicants need to demonstrate socio-political or trade union involvement. Applications for the PhD program should comprise a 10-page exposé and additional application material. More detailed information will be available in the context of the workshop. A working knowledge of German is of advantage. For any queries regarding applications, please contact the program coordinator at