Horizontal Inequalities: Sustainability, quality of life, poverty and conflict

Ballon, Paola; Nimeh, Zina; Robles, Gisela; Rodriguez de la Vega, Lía; Stewart, Frances; Tonon, Graciela; Zavaleta, Diego (2014). 'Horizontal Inequalities: Sustainability, quality of life, poverty and conflict' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, 2-5 September 2014, Athens, Greece.

Paper 1: Inequality and sustainability

Author: Frances Stewart

Abstract: Satisfactory patterns of Human Development require that the process of expansion of capabilities is sustained. This paper analyses the relationship between inequality and sustainability from three perspectives: macro-economic sustainability; environmental sustainability; and political sustainability. It argues that greater inequality makes it more difficult to achieve each of the three. In the first two cases, it is vertical inequality that is relevant, and in the third horizontal inequality.  In the case of environmental sustainability there is a two way link such that worsening environmental conditions tend to be most adverse for the poorest and consequently raise inequality, while a substantial reduction in inter and intra-country inequality appears to be necessary for any substantial reduction in growth of output (and consequently an improvement in environment from this source) to be acceptable. The paper also explores some conflicts and complementarities between the three types of sustainability. Sustainability of Human Development requires that all three types of sustainability are realized.

Keywords: Horizontal and vertical inequality, human development, sustainability.

Paper 2: Inequalities and quality of life

Authors: Graciela Tonon and Lía Rodriguez de la Vega

Abstract: This paper presents the construction process of an instrument to measure different forms of inequality: social, cultural, political, religious, and economic in relation with quality of life. It is centered in the production of non-traditional indicators, with a regional perspective. Traditionally, when working with indicators, the interest has been focused on obtaining generalizations and, in most cases, the latter have been presented as isolated from their socio-historical context of development. Nevertheless, in the last decades, there has been a tendency towards the construction of indicators, by region, generating an outlook that may integrate economic-political-cultural-social aspects. In this sense, it is important to consider that the construction of a new measuring instrument requires an approach that may integrate quantitative and qualitative outlooks and, in order to do so it calls for a clear definition of both perspectives, a clear conceptualization of the relationship among the components, and a solid structure (Maggino 2009, p. 5).

The focus on human capabilities proposed by Sen (1990, p. 3)considers the relevance of the differences in the way people satisfy their needs, centering all attention in the fact that the same persons may require different resources to achieve the development of the same liberties.  The improvement of the standards of living of a population responds to two plausible models: economic growth, which implies a broadening of the general economic basis, and in which general social services are expanded; and the social policies generated by the government, which revolve around health, education, and social assistance (Sen,2000, p. 66). Hence, quality of life must not only be assessed in terms of achievements to reach vital satisfaction but also in its pursuit of the necessary freedom to achieve it. 

Keywords: Inequalities, quality of life, human capabilities, measurement questionnaire.


Paper 3: Unveiling poverty typologies by groups in the 'ability to go about without shame' in Chile

Authors: Paola Ballón, Gisela Robles, and  Diego Zavaleta

Abstract: Poor people and communities continue to cite experiences of indignity, shame and humiliation as painful components of their deprivation. Poverty is therefore a human condition that reflects failures in many dimensions, far beyond income. Policies intended to reduce poverty should be informed of these multiple failures. In this effort the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative has designed a short questionnaire module on shame that has been integrated into the 2009 national household survey of Chile. This paper aims to unveil poverty typologies by groups in their ability to go about without shame of people in Chile. To identify group-classes of shame-poverty we use a multilevel latent class model. This is a structural equation model where group-classes of shame-poverty are assumed to be unobserved or latent. The classes are inferred from the model using a set of indicators of the respondents' experience of shame to the 2009 module questionnaire. To assess group-heterogeneity in their experience of shame we include personal and community-level factors as explanatory variables of the model. Our results show significant differences in the perception of shame-poverty by groups. These horizontal inequalities are greater among ethnic groups and gender and are mainly explained by the possession of material resources and education level of respondents.

Keywords:  Group-poverty, shame, horizontal inequalities, multilevel latent class model, Chile.


Paper 4: Diverse we stand: The complexity in assessing the effect of Horizontal Inequality on ethno-communal Conflict in Indonesia

Authors: Bart Kleine Deters and Zina Nimeh

Abstract:   This paper aims to shed some light on the drivers of (relatively) small-scale ethno-communal violence within an ethnically diverse state, by quantitatively examining the relationship between horizontal inequalities and ethno-communal violence. The paper examines the case Indonesia around the time of the downfall of the New Order regime and the first years of the reformasi (roughly 1997-2003). During this time the country suffered from both an economic (the Asia crisis) and a political crisis. The analysis takes place at the district level, for both ethno-lingual and ethno-religious groups.

Following the literature in measuring horizontal inequality, we construct different HI indicators.  A pooled time series cross-sectional probit regression is utilized, using deadly ethno-communal violence as the dummy dependent variable. The research looks at a broad range of these constructed HI indicators, divided into five dimensions (health, employment, education, housing and network connectivity), which are further subdivided into access and achievement variables.

 Results show that while horizontal inequalities can be considered a determinant for ethno-communal conflict, there are marked differences in the society for different groups, in this case linguistic versus religious groups. Preliminary results show that a common basis is formed by horizontal inequalities in malnutrition and water source. A main driver of the ethno-religious estimations has been adult educational attainment, pointing out to a narrative where schooling - and the career chances that come with it - is something for the privileged groups, leading to frustration among the disadvantaged. 

 Keywords: Horizontal inequality, ethno-communal conflict, human security, social policies

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