Social Inequality Before and After the Revolution in Iran

Djavad Salehi-Isfahani
Nov 8, 2023, 12:00 pm1:00 pm
  • RSVP Required
  • Free, Open to the Public


Event Description



Rising inequality sparked Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution and like all popular revolutions the Islamic Republic espoused economic justice as its main objective. 

The fact that four decades later debate over poverty and inequality dominates Iran’s political economy suggests that the revolution has so far failed in achieving this objective and the revolutionaries remain divided as to how to move toward a more egalitarian society.  In this talk I review the evidence on inequalities in income, education, and gender since the 1970s to show how, in different ways, they inhibit social and economic progress.


Djavad Salehi‐Isfahani received his PhD in Economics from Harvard University and has served on the faculty of economics at the University of Pennsylvania and Virginia Tech, where he is currently Professor of Economics.

He is a Research Affiliate of the Middle East Initiative at the Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School, and Research Fellow at the Economic Research Forum (ERF) in Cairo. He was a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Global Economy and Development, the Brookings Institution 2009-2021, and served on the Board of Trustees of the Economic Research Forum in Cairo, the Middle East Economic Association, and the International Iranian Economic Associaiton.

His current research is on the economics of sanctions, inequality, and the economics of the family in the Middle East.  He is the coauthor of the forthcoming book How Sanctions Work from Stanford University Press.

His opinion pieces have appeared in, among others, Foreign Affairs, Project Syndicate, Responsible Statecraft, Foreign Policy, Brookings, the Hill, Al Monitor, LA Times, and the New York Times.

He blogs at Tyranny of Numbers. Find his personal website here.

Poster for event, information in text.
Alison Cummins