What We Do

INEQUALITREES investigates the levels, drivers and spacial distribution of unfair socio-economic inequalities


➤ Estimating Inequality of Opportunity and Poverty in education, income and health drawing from Sociology, Economics, Geography, Anthropology and Computer Science.


➤ Using Machine Learning techniques to measure inequalities, extract information from non-standard data (e.g. satellite images) and integrate data from different sources.


➤ Investigating patterns of inequality of opportunity and poverty within (e.g., spacial distribution) and between countries, focusing on Bolivia, Germany, India and Italy.

Project’s Summary

The INEQUALITREES project aims to investigate the levels and main drivers of two key manifestations of socio-economic inequality across the globe: poverty and inequality of opportunity (IOp, hereafter). We adopt a multidimensional, interdisciplinary and cross-national approach, by analysing IOp and poverty in three key individual outcomes (education, income and health) in four countries (Bolivia, Germany, India, Italy), and integrating contributions from economics, sociology, geography and computer science. We will look not only at how different socio-economic conditions shape life opportunities across the countries, but we will also map in detail within-country variations in socioeconomic inequalities. A key innovative feature of our project consists in the application of cutting-edge machine learning techniques to integrate and analyze large scale datasets from various sources, including national and international surveys, administrative and register data, as well as innovative data extracted from satellite images. Our research design will address common statistical problems in previous studies on IOp and poverty, such as small sample sizes, partial geographical coverage, and missing information on key variables. The combination of various data sources and the application of machine learning and spatial regression methods promise significant progress in understanding the environmental and institutional features that countervail the existence of unfair socio-economic inequalities.


As part of the Global Issues – Integrating Different Perspectives on Social Inequality call, promoted by the Compagnia di San Paolo Foundation, Volkswagen Stiftung, Novo Nordisk Fonden and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, a total of 252 pre-proposals were received. Based on the outcome of the two-phase evaluation process carried out by an international review panel, 8 projects were considered eligible for funding, for a total amount of €11,590,900. INEQUALITREES (Application No A130902) is funded by Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo (€1,454,600).