Michael Förster

Michael Förster
Michael Förster



Michael Förster is a senior researcher and policy analyst in the fields of economic inequality and social policy. He has lead OECD work in this area for more than ten years, resulting in a series of flagship publications: "Divided We Stand” (2011), "In It Together” (2015), “A Broken Social Elevator?" (2018), "Under Pressure: The Squeezed Middle Class (2019), "Does Inequality Matter? How people perceive economic disparities and social mobility" (2021). During 2022/23 Michael has been lecturing on "inequality and policy" as a guest professor at the University of Antwerp. Since September 2023, he is also teaching at SciencesPo Paris. In the past, he has been working with international research institutes, notably the Luxembourg Income Study and the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research, Vienna. Michael studied economics at the Universities of Vienna, Austria (M.A.) and Saarbrücken, Germany and holds a Ph.D. from University of Liège, Belgium. He is member of several advisory boards of international research projects and author of various journal articles, research papers and book contributions, including to the Elsevier Handbook of Income Distribution.


Selected publications

Ladaique, M. and Förster, M. (2024, forthcoming), « L’évolution des inégalités et de la pauvreté de ressources dans les pays de l’OCDE », in : Regards n°63,  Inégalités et pauvreté en comparaison internationale, edited by EN3S-École nationale supérieure de Sécurité sociale.

Förster, M. and A. Vindics (2021), “The impact of demographic and family structure changes on income distribution in Hungary and OECD countries”, in: Demografia Vol 62 No 5 (2019), pp. 77-105. Budapest.  https://www.demografia.hu/en/publicationsonline/index.php/demografiaenglishedition/article/view/971  

Förster, M.F. (2021), « État de la mobilité intra et intergénérationelle dans les pays de l’OCDE », in: Duvoux, N. et M. Lelièvre (ed.), Trajectoires et parcours des personnes en situation de pauvreté et d’exclusion sociale, Actes du séminaire de recherche comité scientifique du CNLE – DREES, pp. 100 – 103, Paris Octobre 2021. https://drees.solidarites-sante.gouv.fr/sites/default/files/2021-10/Seminaire%20CNLE-DREES-BAT.pdf

Förster, M.F. (with an authors’ team) (2021), Does Inequality Matter? How people perceive economic disparities and social mobility, http://oe.cd/does-inequality-matter

Förster, M.F. and S. Königs (2020), "Promoting Social Mobility in Austria", OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, No. 251, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/1e0efdcc-en. https://one.oecd.org/document/DELSA/ELSA/WD/SEM(2020)16/en/pdf

Verbist, G. and Förster, M. (2019), "Accounting for Public Services in Distributive Analysis", in: Decancq, K. and Kerm, P. (Ed.) What Drives Inequality? (Research on Economic Inequality, Vol. 27), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 69-87. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1049-258520190000027006

Förster, M.F. (with an authors’ team) (2019), Under Pressure : The Squeezed Middle Class, Paris, OECD. http://oe.cd/middle-class-2019

Förster, M.F. and B. Nolan (2018), "Inequality and Living Standards: Key Trends and Drivers", in: Brian Nolan (ed.), Inequality and Inclusive Growth in Rich Countries: Shared Challenges and Contrasting Fortunes, pp. 11 - 40. Oxford University Press.

Förster, M. and C. Thevenot (2018), "Inégalités de salaires et revenus", in: Dictionnaire des inégalités et de la justice sociale (ed. P. Savidan), pp. 732 – 741, PUF (presses universitaires de France)

Förster, M.F. (2018), contributing author to “Economic Inequality and Social Progress”, chapter 3 (eds. S. Klasen, G. Cornia, R. Grynspan, L. Lopez-Calva, N. Lustig) in Rethinking Society for the 21st Century – Report of the International Panel on Social Progress. CUP 2018. https://www.ipsp.org/

Förster, M.F. (with an authors’ team) (2018), A Broken Social Elevator? How to Promote Social Mobility, Paris, OECD. http://oe.cd/social-mobility-2018

Förster, M.F. and K. Heitzmann (2017), "Entwicklung von Spitzeneinkommen in OECD-Ländern", in: Handbuch Reichtum in Österreich (Hg. N. Dimmel, J. Hofmann, M. Schenk und M. Schürz), pp. 51-67, Studienverlag Innsbruck, Wien, Bozen.

Förster, M.F. and H. Levy (2017), " La classe moyenne est sous pression dans les pays de l’OCDE", La vie économique, Novembre 2017. http://dievolkswirtschaft.ch/fr/2017/11/foerster-12-2017fr/ Also in German: http://dievolkswirtschaft.ch/de/2017/11/foerster-12-2017/

Förster, M. and C. Thevenot (2016), "Les inégalités de revenu dans les pays de l’OCDE: tendances, facteurs explicatifs et rôle des politiques sociales", in: Revue Française des Affaires Sociales 2016 No.1, pp. 65-94, https://www.cairn.info/revue-francaise-des-affaires-sociales-2016-1.htm   

Förster, M. and I. Tóth (2015), “Cross-country evidence of the multiple causes of inequality in the OECD area”, in: Handbook of Income Distribution (eds. F. Bourguignon and A.B. Atkinson), pp. 1729-1844, Elsevier. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780444594297000200

Förster, M.F. (with an authors’ team) (2015), In It Together – Why Less Inequality Benefits All, Paris, OECD. http://www.oecd.org/social/in-it-together-why-less-inequality-benefits-all-9789264235120-en.htm

Förster, M., A. Llena-Nozal and V. Nafilyan (2014), "Trends in Top Incomes and their Taxation in OECD Countries", OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, No. 159, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5jz43jhlz87f-en

Förster, M. and John P. Martin (2014), “Inequality in OECD countries: the facts and policies to curb it”, in: Insights – Melbourne Business and Economics, Volume 15 (April 2014), pp. 5-13. http://insights.unimelb.edu.au/vol15/01_martin.html

Chen, W-H., Förster, M. and Llena-Nozal, A. (2013), “Demographic or labour market trends: What determines the distribution of household earnings in OECD countries?”, in: OECD Journal: Economic Studies, Volume 2013, pp.1-29,  http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/economics/demographic-or-labour-market-trends_eco_studies-2013-5k43jt5vcdvl  

Chen, W-H., Förster, M. and Llena-Nozal, A. (2013), “Globalisation, technological progress and changes in regulations and institutions – which impact on the rise of earnings inequality in OECD countries?”, Luxembourg Income Study Working Paper, No. 597. http://www.lisdatacenter.org/wps/liswps/597.pdf

Förster, M. and L. Richardson (2013), “Income distribution and poverty among the working-age population and implications for social welfare policies”, chapter 2 in: OECD (2013), Strengthening Social Cohesion in Korea, Paris, OECD publishing, pp. 63-98.

Förster, M. and G. Verbist (2012), “Money or Kindergarten? Distributive Effects of Cash Versus In-Kind Family Transfers for Young Children”, OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, No. 135, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5k92vxbgpmnt-en

Förster, M.F. and M. Mira d’Ercole (2012), “The OECD Approach to Measuring Income Distribution and Poverty”, in: Counting the Poor – New Thinking About European Poverty Measures and Lessons for the United States (eds. D. Besharov and K. Couch), pp. 27-58. Oxford University Press.

Förster, M.F. (with an authors’ team) (2011), Divided we Stand: Why Inequality keeps rising, Paris, OECD.

Verbist, G., M.F. Förster and M. Vaalavuo (2011), “The Impact of Publicly Provided Services on the Distribution of Resources: Review of New Results and Methods”, OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, No. 130, OECD Publishing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5k9h363c5szq-en

E. Arnal and M.F. Förster (2010), Tackling Inequality in Brazil, China, India and South Africa: the Role of Labour Market and Social Policies, Paris, OECD. http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/social-issues-migration-health/tackling-inequalities-in-brazil-china-india-and-south-africa-2010_9789264088368-en

Förster, M.F. (2010), “Poverty in the OECD Area: Patterns and Longer-Term Trends“, in: P. Saunders and R. Sainsbury (ed.), Social Security, Poverty and Social Exclusion, International Studies on Social Security volume 16, pp. 35 – 62.

Förster, M.F. and P. Whiteford (2009), “How much redistribution do Welfare States achieve? The role of cash transfers and household taxes”, in: CESifo DICE REPORT- Journal for Institutional Comparisons, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 34-41. Munich. http://www.cesifo-group.de/pls/guestci/download/CESifo%20DICE%20Report%202009/CESifo%20DICE%20Report%203/2009/dicereport309-rr1.pdf

Förster, M.F. (2008), “Prestaciones ligadas a la incapacidad y estrategias preventivas y de reintegración de la incapacidad laboral: experiencia comparada”, in: Revista del Ministerio de Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales, No. E 2008, Madrid, pp. 287-315. http://www.mtas.es/es/publica/revista/numeros/ExtraSS-08/Est06.pdf

Förster, M.F. (2005), “The European Social Space Revisited: Comparing Poverty in the Enlarged European Union”, Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, Vol. 7, n° 1, pp. 29-48, Routledge Journals. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/13876980500084394

Förster, M.F. and M. Mira d’Ercole (2005), “Tackling Poverty”, OECD Observer No. 248, March 2005

Förster, M.F., D. Jesuit and T. Smeeding  (2005), “Regional Poverty and Income Inequality in Central and Eastern Europe: Evidence from the Luxembourg Income Study”, in: R. Kanbur and A.J. Venables (eds.), Spatial Inequality and Development, pp. 311-347. Oxford University Press.