Kabeer, N. (2010). Can the MDGs provide a pathway to social justice? The challenge of intersecting inequalities. Brighton: Institute of Development Studies.
What impact do intersecting inequalities have on the achievement of the MDGs? The focus on average progress disguises a picture of uneven achievement that is characterised by deep disparities between social groups. The socially excluded sections of the poor are systematically left out or left behind from their countries’ progress. The report suggests a number of key concerns, principles and recommendations that can provide the basis for continued efforts to tackle social exclusion.
McKay, A. (2002). Defining and measuring inequality (Inequality Briefing: Briefing Paper No 1). Economists’ Resource Centre.
What is inequality and why does it matter? Inequality refers to differences in living standards across a whole population. It matters for poverty, growth, and in its own right. It is often an important factor behind crime, social unrest and violent conflict and is critically important for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. This briefing paper introduces techniques for measuring inequality. It argues that it is important to have a more multidimensional perspective of inequality and an understanding of the processes behind inequality and its changes.
Milanovic, B. (2012). Global income inequality by the numbers: In history and now (Policy Research Working Paper 6259). Washington, DC: World Bank.
What is global inequality and how has it been calculated? As a result of globalisation it makes more sense to look at inequality between all individuals in the world than just those within the nation-state. This paper presents calculations of global inequality. Global inequality appears to have declined between 1988 and 2008. This will only continue if countries’ mean incomes continue to converge and if already high within country inequalities are kept in check. The paper concludes that either poor countries will become richer, or poor people will move to rich countries.
UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). (2013). Inequality matters: Report of the world social situation 2013. New York: United Nations.
What are the trends in inequality? There is worsening inequality across and within many countries. Large disparities in access to health and education services, land and other productive assets between the richest and the poorest households persist. Wealth inequalities are inherited across generations and are present across locations, trapping large pockets of society in poverty and exclusion. The report focuses on the impacts of inequality and highlights policies that have been effective at reducing inequality and have helped improve the situation of disadvantaged and marginalised social groups.
UNDP. (2013). Humanity divided: Confronting inequality in developing countries. New York: UNDP.
Inequality of what? Inequality between whom? Why does national inequality matter? This report demonstrates that inequality has been jeopardizing economic growth and poverty reduction. It has stalled progress in health, education and nutrition and limited opportunities and access to economic, social and political resources. Inequality can undermine social cohesion and increase political and social tensions which could lead to instability and conflict. The report concludes with a comprehensive policy framework to confront inequality in developing countries.
UNICEF, & UN Women. (2013). Global thematic consultation on the post-2015 development agenda: Addressing inequalities – Synthesis report of global public consultation. UNICEF & UN Women.
Why do inequalities exist? How can we tackle them? This report draws on an extensive consultation process with civil society organizations, UN agencies and academic institutions. Inequalities are a global challenge. They have deep consequences for everyone in society. The poor often face discrimination, stigma and negative social stereotypes which reduce their social participation, opportunities for employment and political support for targeted measures. People with disabilities experience more deprivations, with greater severity, than people without disabilities in various areas of life. Women face discrimination in most areas of their lives. Rural and urban poor face various different inequalities including access to services and livelihoods. Older people experience discrimination which restricts their access to resources and services. Children and youth face inequalities because of their age. The poorest and most marginalised in any given state are often ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples and religious groups as a result of discrimination on the basis of their identity. Prejudice, negative stereotypes and intolerance against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people often results in violence and discrimination against them. Non-citizens and migrants commonly face legal discrimination and limited opportunities. Addressing inequalities depends on tackling structural barriers, creating conditions in all countries where all people are able to enjoy equality of rights and opportunity. Actions to tackle inequalities include: legal, social and economic policy; protection from discrimination, exploitation and harm; levelling up measures; and capacity to claim.
World Bank. (2006). World development report 2006: Equity and development. New York: World Bank.
What is the relationship between equity and development? Equity means that individuals should have equal opportunities to pursue a life of their choosing and be spared from extreme deprivation in outcomes. Institutions and policies that promote a level playing field — where all members of society have similar chances to become socially active, politically influential, and economically productive — contribute to sustainable growth and development. Greater equity is good for poverty reduction through potential beneficial effects on aggregate long-run development and through greater opportunities for poorer groups within any society. Inequality traps which result from overlapping political, social, cultural, and economic inequalities stifling mobility and inequality of opportunity are wasteful and inimical to sustainable development and poverty reduction. Equitable policies are more likely to be successful when levelling the economic playing field is accompanied by similar efforts to level the domestic political playing field and introduce greater fairness in global governance. The report discusses the role of public action in levelling the economic and political playing field by: investing in human capacities; expanding access to justice, land, and infrastructure; promoting fairness in markets; and promoting greater global equity in access to markets, resource flows, and governance.
World Bank. (2013). Inclusion matters: The foundation for shared prosperity. Washington, DC: World Bank.
Why does inclusion matter? How can one know when social inclusion is achieved? Inclusion matters because it is the foundation for shared prosperity. Social exclusion is simply too costly—socially, politically, and economically. Excluded groups exist in all countries and are consistently denied opportunities. Intense global transitions are leading to social transformations that create new opportunities for inclusion as well as exacerbating existing forms of exclusion. Social and economic transformations affect people’s attitudes and perceptions. It is important to pay attention to these attitudes and perceptions they affect how individuals and groups are treated, both by other members of the society and by the state. Social inclusion can be enhanced by improving ability, opportunity, and dignity. Abundant evidence demonstrates that social inclusion can be planned and achieved. The report provides a comprehensive examination of inclusion and a framework to help advance the agenda of social inclusion.
Cain, E. (2012). Voices of the marginalized: Persons with disabilities, older people, people with mental health issues. UN Women, UNICEF.
Cobham, A., & Sumner, A. (2013). Putting the Gini back in the bottle? ‘The Palma’ as a policy-relevant measure of inequality. Kings College London.
De Barros, R. P., Ferreria, F. H. G., Vega, J. R. M., & Chanduvi, J. S. (2009). Measuring inequality of opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Washington, DC: World Bank.
Jütting, J. P., Morrisson, C., Dayton‐Johnson, J., & Drechsler, D. (2008). Measuring gender (in)equality: The OECD gender, institutions and development data base. Journal of Human Development, 9(1), 65-86.
Peterson, L. (2014). The measurement of non-economic inequality in well-being indices. Social Indicators Research, 119(2), 581-598.
Solt, F. (2009). Standardizing the world income inequality database. Social Science Quarterly, 90(2), 231-242.