Rethinking Economic Inequality: a Theological Perspective

Mar 30, 2023
Booth School of Business, Room 104-C
5807 S Woodlawn Avenue
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Mary HirschfeldUniversity of Notre Dame

Amir SufiUniversity of Chicago Booth



This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact

This event is co-presented by the Catholic Research Economists Discussion Organization (CREDO) and cosponsored by the In Lumine Network and Catholics at Booth. This event is made possible through the support of ‘In Lumine: Supporting the Catholic Intellectual Tradition on Campuses Nationwide’ (Grant #62372) from the John Templeton Foundation. 

Secular discourse about the problem of economic inequality rests on two foundational premises that are problematic from a theological point of view. First, individuals enter into society with the aim of bettering their own condition. Second, bettering one’s own condition entails accruing more wealth and power so that one can fulfill more of one’s desires. 

In this event, Mary Hirschfeld will present on how market behavior shaped by the premises described above can promote economic inequality. Can ethical responses to the problem of economic inequality promote justice without challenging these assumptions? How do we find a theological response to the problem of economic inequality? How does genuine human flourishing depend on communal ties and the higher human goods that material wealth is properly meant to support? Join us for this lecture as we unpack the answers to these questions. 

A response will follow from Amir Sufi, Bruce Lindsay Professor of Economics and Public Policy.

Mary Hirschfeld is Associate Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Hirschfeld holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard and a Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Notre Dame. She works at the boundary between both disciplines, specifically by developing an approach to economics that is grounded in the thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas, with applications to questions of consumption economics, economic justice, the common good, the nature of practical reason, and economic methodology. She is the author of Aquinas and the Market: Toward a Humane Economy (Harvard, 2018) and her writings on economics have been published in the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of Eco­nomic Education, and History of Political Economy.

Amir Sufi is the Bruce Lindsay Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He is also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He serves as an associate editor for the American Economic Review, the Journal of Finance, and the Quarterly Journal of Economics. Professor Sufi was awarded the 2017 Fischer Black Prize by the American Finance Association, given biennially to the top financial economics scholar under the age of 40.

Professor Sufi's research focuses on finance and macroeconomics. His research on household debt and the economy forms the basis of his book co-authored with Atif Mian: House of Debt: How They (and You) Caused the Great Recession and How We Can Prevent It from Happening Again, which was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2014. He earned a PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was awarded the Solow Endowment Prize for Graduate Student Excellence in Teaching and Research. He joined the Chicago Booth faculty in 2005.