He is a Visiting Presidential Professor at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, and a Senior Scholar at the Stone Center on Socio-economic Inequality. He served as lead economist in the World Bank’s Research Department for almost 20 years, leaving to write his book on global income inequality, Worlds Apart: Measuring International and Global Inequality, Princeton University Press (2005). He was a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington (2003-2005) and has held teaching appointments at the University of Maryland (2007-2013) and at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University (1997- 2007). His main area of work is income inequality, in individual countries and globally, also in pre-industrial societies. In addition to numerous papers for the World Bank, he has published articles in several economic journals.
His book The Haves and the Have-nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality, Basic Books (2011) was selected by The Globalist as the 2011 Book of the Year. Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization, Harvard University Press (2016), was awarded the Bruno Kreisky Prize. In October 2017 he was awarded the 2018 Leontief Prize 2018 for advancing the frontiers of economic knowledge, jointly with Mariana Mazzucato. His next book to come out in Italian, entitled Capitalismo contro capitalismo, will be published by Laterza in October 2020.