- Bestow equal rights and entitlements, and enable equal opportunities, voice and access to resources and services.
- Are typically based on principles of universality, non-discrimination, or targeted action. Targeted action is needed where some people and groups are particularly disadvantaged, and therefore require differential treatment to achieve the equivalent outcomes.
Examples of inclusive institutions
- Universal: universal age-related state pension; universal access to justice or services.
- Non-discriminatory: meritocratic recruitment in the civil service; inheritance laws that protect widows’ land rights.
- Targeted: affirmative action to increase the proportion of women political representatives; budget rules that prioritise investment in disadvantaged areas.
- Withhold rights and entitlements, and undermine equal opportunities, voice and access to resources and services.
- Can be manufactured or organic. They range from deliberate discriminatory legislation (e.g. apartheid South Africa), to rules that fail to respond to the particular needs of marginalised groups (e.g. language barriers in education or traditional health beliefs and practices) (Kabeer, 2010; UNESCO, 2010; World Bank, 2013a).
- Often result in negative stereotypes and prejudices (World Bank, 2013a). Norms underpinning gender roles, ethnic discrimination or caste systems can be deeply ingrained and unconsciously perpetuated, affecting the behaviour of all actors in society. This can often result in unequal access to resources and services (World Bank, 2013a; Rao & Walton, 2004).
- Can enable or reinforce discriminatory behaviour towards groups, or whole sections of society. People and groups commonly discriminated against are women, people with disabilities, religious minorities, certain castes, ethnic minorities, and recent migrants. Some institutions are inclusive in some respects but exclusive in others – for example, political settlements that ensure elites from all groups benefit, but that non-elites are disadvantaged. Other institutions act to disadvantage whole sections of society, such as rules on political transparency, or norms of paying bribes.
Overall, institutions can rarely be categorised into a simple inclusive-exclusive dichotomy. Some institutions enable particular groups to only partially benefit from access to resources, rights, or entitlements, simultaneously denying them others. Hickey and du Toit (2007) term this ’adverse incorporation‘. For example, a woman may be given the right to own land, whilst the right to sell it or receive any profits from it belongs to her husband.
- Hickey, S. & du Toit, A. (2007). Adverse incorporation, social exclusion and chronic poverty. Working Paper No. 81. Manchester: Chronic Poverty Research Centre, University of Manchester. See document online
- Kabeer, N. (2010). Can the MDGs provide a pathway to social justice? The challenge of intersecting inequalities. New York: MDG Achievement Fund, Institute of Development Studies and UNDP. See document online
- Rao, V. & Walton, M. (2004). Culture and public action. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. See document online
- UNESCO (2010). Education For All Global Monitoring Report. Reaching the marginalized. London and Paris: Oxford University Press and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. See document online
- World Bank (2013a). Inclusion matters: The foundation for shared prosperity. Washington D.C.: World Bank. See document online