Erin Lockwood: International Political Economy of Global Inequality


Dr. Erin Lockwood is a Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Irvine. Her research areas include International Political Economy, Global Financial Politics, Global Inequity, and many other areas at the intersection of International Relations and Economics. 

On October 3, 2019, Dr. Lockwood came to speak at Occidental College about the International Political Economy of Global Inequality to a crowd of students as a guest lecturer. She created a very dynamic and interesting lecture which required the students to think about global inequality in a personal and involved manner. She opened up the talk with an interactive activity asking who enjoys more capitalist benefits in the contemporary global economy; a rich person in a poor country, or a poor person in a rich country? She then used this to launch the class into a discussion about the global financial layout of the international economy. She asserted that the representative income of a rich person in a poor country is $3,039, compared with the representative income of a poor person in a rich country which is $9,387. From this data, she concludes that the country a person is born into is far more determinant of how much money they make than any other factor that might contribute to that person’s income. Historically, she notes, this hasn’t been the case. It used to be the case that where one falls into their income distribution has been far more determinant of income at a global scale than it is today, wherein the country that one lives in carries much more economic weight. Dr. Lockwood argued that global inequality has a different politics than poverty and international development, which she feels are all too often conflated with one another. She explained all the many reasons why this conversation is important to contemporary research issues. She also answered the question that she posed to the audience: what makes global inequality political? She asserted that global inequality is an irreducibly political phenomenon that overlaps with but is analytically distinct from both poverty/development and national income inequality.  

Dr. Erin Lockwood is in the process of writing a book. She continues to research the intersectionality of economics, international relations, and inequality.