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There is currently a poor understanding of the links between wealth accumulation and social and environmental degradation, which is largely due to problems with data availability and quality. 

The Wealth Data Science Summer/Winter School (WeDSS) wants to track the digital footprints of the rich to document where, when, how, and why they produce and reproduce wealth. It will leverage the thick data trail left by the wealthy as avid consumers, travellers, and social media users; and test if digital data is a meaningful supplement to standard established data sources for wealth and inequality researchers. In the absence of expensive data infrastructure in poorer countries to track the concentration of (financial) wealth, digital data collected via multi-purpose information and communication technologies also may allow for a better comparison of wealth across developed and developing countries and across social groups.

The school has three substantive foci that contribute to a more profound understanding of the genesis of wealth:

  • Mechanisms for the production of different wealth classes, e.g., innovation, property rights, norms.
  • Mechanisms for the reproduction of wealth, e.g., families, geographies.
  • Mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth, e.g. taxes, transfers, patronage.

ACEIR’s hub is the African host of the WeDSS, which is part of the Schools in Computational Social Science and Data Science of the University of Bremen’s International Graduate School of Social Sciences and other partners.

The Wealth Data Science Summer/Winter School is organised by Prof. Hilke Brockmann and Dr Jan Lorenz (Constructor University), and Prof. Murray Leibbrandt and Prof. Vimal Ranchhod (ACEIR and University of Cape Town).