Deaton, A. (2013). The great escape: Health, wealth and the origins of inequality. Princeton University Press.
Why is the world hugely unequal despite the progress made? And what can be done about it? People are wealthier and healthier, and live longer lives. However, there are large inequalities between people and between countries. This book examines how some parts of the world have experienced progress and how gaps have opened up, leading to an unequal world. It suggests what can be done to help those left behind, including engaging with a discussion about whether aid is actually beneficial.
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.
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? Given globalisation, it makes more sense to look at inequality among all individuals in the world than just those within a 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.
Ortiz, I., & Cummins, M. (2011). Global inequality: Beyond the bottom billion – A rapid review of income distribution in 141 countries. UNICEF.
What does global inequality look like? This working paper provides an overview of global, regional and national income inequalities based on the latest distribution data from the World Bank, UNU-WIDER and Eurostat. The extreme inequality in the distribution of the world’s income brings into question the current development model. Inequality slows economic growth, results in health and social problems and generates political instability. The paper provides income distribution and Gini Index data from 1990-2008 for 136 countries.
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 jeopardising 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 organisations, 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 that 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. The 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. Identity-based discrimination means that the poorest and most marginalised in any given state are often ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples and religious groups. 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.
UNICEF, UN Women, UNDP, & OHCHR. (2014). TST issues brief: Promoting equality, including social equity. UNICEF, UN Women, UNDP & OHCHR.
Why do inequalities matter and how can equality be promoted in the post-2015 development agenda? Inequalities harm not only the most deprived people, but also their wider societies, by threatening the stability and sustainability of economic growth; depriving countries of productive human capital and entrepreneurial talent; undermining the ability of people living in extreme poverty to contribute to economic growth and environmental conservation; and reducing social cohesion and mutual trust as a basis for economic, social and political contracts. This brief addresses the high inequalities that continue to exist and suggest actions to combat them in the post-2015 agenda.
Allison, C., Fleisje, E., Glevey, W., Leenders, W., Prochazka, J., Singhal, G. (2014). Trends and key drivers of income inequality. University of Cambridge.
Dabalen, A., Narayan, A., Saavedra-Chanduvi, J., Suarez, A.H., Abras, A., & Tiwari, S. (2015). Do African children have an equal chance? A human opportunity report for Sub-Saharan Africa. Washington, DC: World Bank.
Fuentes-Nieva, R., & Galasso, N. (2014). Working for the few: Political capture and economic inequality. Oxford: Oxfam.
Hardoon, D. (2015). Wealth: Having it all and wanting more. Oxford: Oxfam GB.
Hellebrandt, T., & Mauro, P. (2015). The future of worldwide income distribution (Working Paper 15-7). Washington, DC: Peterson Institute for International Economics.
Hillebrand, E. (2011). Poverty, growth, and inequality over the next 50 years. In Piero Conforti (Ed.), Looking ahead in world agriculture: Perspectives to 2050. Rome: FAO.
Mitra, S., Posarac, A., & Vick, B. (2011). Disability and poverty in developing countries: A snapshot from the world health survey (SP Discussion Paper No. 1109). Washington, DC: World Bank.
World Bank. (2016). Global monitoring report 2015/2016: Development goals in an era of demographic change. Washington, DC: World Bank.