Martin de Jong – Scientific director and Professor at the Erasmus School of Law & the Rotterdam School of Management
Martin de Jong is responsible for the academic direction and long term continuity of the initiative. His academic areas of interest are sustainable urban and infrastructure development in China, city branding, urban planning & governance, and institutional transplantation.
Martin aims to highlight two topics in the coming years, of which the first is “Inclusive cities”. This theme stresses the involvement of various social groups and stakeholders in urban socio-economic development and environmental preservation. The second topic is the transfer and translation of policy and planning institutions from China to the developing countries it collaborates with. This is a demonstration of the global geopolitical power shift to the east and the features and functionalists of this alternative model: the Beijing consensus.
The first topic connects with the agenda we are developing with the City of Rotterdam and IHS. The second corresponds with the MoU signed with the Chinese Academy of Urban Planning and Design.
"There is a widening gap in income and power within companies and countries. This threatens democracy, rule of law and social stability. Our main aim is to understand the mechanisms underlying this and to intervene where possible."
Alessandra’s research studies how different international and EU legal regimes are implicated in the production of environmental degradation and social injustice. More concretely, she focuses on the field of international economic law and the relationship with human rights, environmental and public health law as well as on the global governance of risks and the emergence of global technocracy. By investigating and charting mechanisms by which exclusion and inclusion are produced through international legal institutions, her research contributes to better understand structural problems of the existing legal system and identify concrete ways to address them.
"My research focuses on the intersection between international economic law and core social values, such as human rights and protection of the environment. By looking at how international legal institutions of economic governance produce exclusion and marginalization, I hope to find a more inclusive approach for our economic system."
Conrad’s research focuses on two main themes: fairness and finance. He aims at developing a comprehensive theory of fairness that tells us how to be fair. Applying this theory to the notion of fair profit sharing, fair trade, and fair distribution of wealth more generally will yield critical insights for inclusive prosperity. He also explores how finance models explain. Which ethical and epistemic values are and should be at play in finance modeling and theory? Answering these questions will contribute to our understanding of inclusive prosperity. Besides these themes, he is also interested in various topics in the philosophy of social science. These topics include scientific measurement and expertise, behavioural policy (such as nudging), procrastination, decision-making about the future, and sustainability.
“Inclusive prosperity needs fairness. But what is fairness exactly, and what does it mean to be fair? Inclusive prosperity also needs finance. How can we ensure that finance furthers inclusive prosperity? My aim is to answer these questions."
Marta is studying the relation between financial markets and the real economy with a particular focus on global commodity markets. Her work within the initiative has two strands. Both focus on the role of finance in fostering inclusive prosperity. In the first strand, she studies how financial markets can deal with macroeconomic shocks. For instance large commodity price swings that could jeopardize sustainable food production or the stability of emerging economies. In the second strand she studies how the epistemic and non-epistemic values (i.e., ethical or environmental) in finance research translate into finance industry that facilitates prosperity (e.g., promotes CSR, financial inclusion). Despite being highly theoretical, academic research in finance has direct and significant practical implications.
"Financial markets are considered by some as crucial to development and by others as the culprit of much inequality. My main interest is to study how financial markets can help in developing inclusive prosperity."
The Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity Initiative aims for people to benefit from inclusive prosperity while minimizing harm. One type of harm that goes hand in hand with growing prosperity is environmental degradation, which also brings with it dimensions of inequality and exclusion. Lieselot's research therefore focuses on gaining insights into the drivers and dynamics of exclusive prosperity with a particular focus on environmental harm, especially when connected to industrial processes (e.g. oil and gas, waste, shipping, natural resource extraction and trade). By better understanding the characteristics of exclusive prosperity, she aims to contribute to answering the question about how governments, businesses and civil society can cooperate to reach inclusive prosperity in environmental matters.
"When dealing with economic processes, we often externalize the environmental harm. My main focus is to come to an inclusive solution by involving government, businesses and NGOs to reach inclusive prosperity in environmental matters."
Yogi is specialized in environmental philosophy at the intersection of public health policy. His work in the Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity Initiative focuses on the impact of the chemical and fossil fuel industries on health and the environment. He especially examines the unintended consequences and synergistic harms of pollution in its various forms vis-à-vis environmental justice, harms on nonhuman organisms, and ecological and intergenerational impact. The positive program stemming from this investigation is what he calls “disruptive regulation,” analysing best practices in ecology and health that meet human needs through shared agency, non-domination, and sustainability. Particular projects include carbon tax, glyphosate, e-waste and industrial epidemics (how industrial processes generate chronic disease).
“I use systems thinking to approach societal and political equity and sustainability issues, based on long-range environmental and health perspectives.”
Emilio studies questions of corporate social responsibility in the context of financial markets. As part of the Initiative and in cooperation with researchers from Zurich and Oxford, Marti will do research on shareholder engagement as a driver of sustainability.
"My research focuses on how pressure from shareholders makes companies more or less sustainable. On the one side, I explore how shareholder engagement can make companies more sustainable. On the other hand, I analyze how pressure from activist hedge funds can undermine companies' sustainability efforts."
Melissa has a degree in Economics from Universidad de Los Andes, in Bogotá, Colombia and a PhD in Philosophy from Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her main research interests are in modelling as a scientific practice, particularly in macroeconomics. At the Initiative she is working with Marta Szymanowska and Conrad Heilmann on the philosophy of science of financial economics. Specifically, she is working on understanding the methodological choices made in the use of financial economics models and the epistemic and practical consequences thereof.
“Model users often make methodological choices without being fully aware of their underlying assumptions or their implications. Elucidating these is crucial for a more reliable scientific practice. This is my aim. A reliable scientific practice goes a long way towards achieving inclusive prosperity, if that’s what we’re ultimately aiming for.”