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Horizontal Inequality, wellbeing, and conflict

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Title: Horizontal Inequality, wellbeing, and conflict


1
Horizontal Inequality, well-being, and conflict
  • by
  • Frances Stewart

2
Perspectives on inequality
  • Most economists measure and evaluate VERTICAL
    inequality among individuals or households.
  • And most attention paid to income inequality.
  • Policies (efficiency/poverty…) all in terms of
    individuals.
  • Welfare (utilitarians) or wellbeing and
    capabilities focus on individuals.

3
Horizontal Inequality
  • HI is inequality between groups as against
    vertical inequality between individuals or
    households.
  • What groups? groups with meaning to members,
    viewed by people themselves, or others as
    important aspect of identity.
  • Group boundaries vary in different societies (and
    over time)
  • Examples of salient identities
  • Ethnic/tribe African
  • Religious most regions notable N.Ireland
    Middle East
  • Race e.g. South Africa Malaysia Fiji
  • Regional (overlaps with other identities)
  • Caste (India)
  • Class

4
Role of class
  • In some places, LA especially, class more of
    identity historically than ethnicity.
  • Performs same role as mobiliser.
  • Often coincides with other differences
    (indigenous race…)
  • Where class is group identity, sharp HI
    inevitable.
  • Diminishing role of class post-cold war rising
    role of ethnicity

5
HIs are Multidimensional
  • Dimensions are those that matter to members
    affect well-being, sense of injustice, actions.
  • Salient dimensions vary according to nature of
    society/economy
  • Important dimensions include
  • Politics (political participation, power, at all
    levels).
  • Economic resources and outcomes (access to
    assets, employment, incomes).
  • Social, including services (health/education/water
    .. and social networks).
  • Should also be true of vertical, but despite lip
    service rarely included.

6
Why does group inequality matter?
  • Instrumental reasons
  • group inequality holds back individuals impedes
    growth, efficiency
  • targeting group inequality can be efficient
  • Direct impact on well-being
  • individual unhappiness being black and feeling
    blue Akerlof.
  • social stability

7
Affects political stability
  • HIs can lead to group mobilisation
  • Ethnic or religious boundaries powerful source of
    mobilisation in general, but
  • Especially where there are blatent HIs. Used by
    ethnic entrepreneurs. May be worse if growing.
    Many examples
  • Rwanda
  • N.Ireland
  • Kosova.
  • Sri Lanka
  • Also riots
  • US cities in 1970s
  • Sporadic, cities in UK
  • Many examples in developing countries India.
  • Also applies internationally.

8
Important question what determines group
boundaries?
  • Primordial view deep historic, even biological
    origins boundaries rigid and unchangeable.
  • But group boundaries are formed socially
    (constructed often for instrumental reasons)

9
Social construction of group boundaries.
  • Groups are generally socially constructed common
    identities but real to participants.
  • Depend on perceptions by group members and others

  • But develop historically.
  • Generally for instrumental reasons. (Economics
    politics mobilisation for conflict).
  • Affected by history, media, politics…Colonial
    policy.
  • Boundaries arbitrary. Multiple identities. Which
    do we/others emphasise? E.g. white black
    classification, Brazil/US
  • Fluid. Mestijahe in Latin America.
  • Salient groups can change over time. (Moslems in
    Sri Lanka Iwerri in Biafra).

10
Instrumental view of ethnicity. Constructed for
particular reasons. 1. Colonial powers
  • Weak historic base for many ethnicities
  • Often constructed by Colonial power, categorised
    people into distinct groups
  • Modern Central Africa tribes are not so much
    survivals from a pre-colonial past but rather
    colonial creations by colonial officers and
    African intellectuals.. (Wim van Binsbergen)
  • In nineteenth century far from there being a
    single tribal identity, most Africans moved in
    and out of multiple identities, defining
    themselves at one moment as subject to this
    chief, at another moment as a member of that
    cult, at another moment as part of this clan, and
    at yet another moment as an initiate in that
    professional guild. (Ranger).

11
2. Use and emphasis of identity for economic
purposes
  • Identities increase trust. Reduce transactions
    costs. Identities developed for economic reasons
    E.g.
  • Hausa in Nigeria trading networks
  • Lebanese in East and West Africa
  • Jews throughout Europe. 16-19th century.
  • Immigrant groups in US

12
3. Use of identities for mobilising support for
conflict
  • May be constructed or emphasised by leaders to
    get support.
  • Powerful mobilising agent. Ethnicity or religion.
    E.g. Bosnia, Rwanda, Sudan. N.Ireland.
  • But not plucked from air constrained by
    history, language etc. Those with perceptions of
    common identity share some markers (language,
    behaviour, rituals, religious practices).
  • Differences seem real to participants. Turton
    the very effectiveness of ethnicity as a
    means of advancing group interests depends upon
    its being seen as primordial by those who
    make claims in its name
  • Sometimes defined by the other Barth
    persecuted groups, eg Jews in Hitlers
    Germany.

13
Group identity, inequality and conflict some
hypotheses
  • Identities are multiple and fluid.
  • Yet they can be effective for binding people
    together for common purposes.
  • Many groups live together peacefully vast
    majority
  • Cultural/group differences only become salient
    or potentially a means of political mobilisation,
    especially for violence, when OTHER factors
    present.
  • Cohen AMen may and do certainly joke about or
    ridicule the strange and bizarre customs of men
    from other ethnic groups, because these customs
    are different from their own. But they do not
    fight over such differences alone. When men do
    …fight across ethnic lines it is nearly always
    the case that they fight over some fundamental
    issues concerning the distribution and exercise
    of power, whether economic, political, or both_at_
  • I.e. cultural differences do not lead to
    violent conflict unless there are also major
    economic and/or political causes.

14
Examples of types of HI-provoked conflict
15
Does intra-group inequality reduce salience of
inter-group?
  • Intra-group inequality often large (larger than
    inter-group) and cited as a reason not to worry
    about intra-group. Statistically this is
    probable.
  • But intra-group inequality can increase use of
    ethnicity for political mobilisation because
    leaders (elite) use inequalities to mobilise and
    politicise ethnicity (eg Nigeria Sri Lanka.
    Horowitz).
  • And reasons for concern with HIs remain
    (wellbeing, growth, poverty, conflict)

16
Measurement issues
  • Not so well worked out as vertical measures.
  • Particular problems
  • Selecting groups fuzzy boundaries.
  • Selecting dimensions and finding indicators.
  • Perceptions of inequalities important.
  • Aggregating
  • Description or evaluation? (Anand and Sen include
    evaluation, in gender index ).
  • Measure of inequality?
  • Variance of group performance on each indicator
  • Ratios of performance of each group in relation
    to average, or to each other or to particular
    reference group.
  • Gini/Theil of group performance not enough
    observations and too complex to make much sense.


17
Issues concerning size and number of groups
  • Range possible from totally homogeneous society
    (group inequality irrelevant) to one where many
    small groups (group inequality approaches
    individual inequality, and may become
    irrelevant).
  • Many other possibilities with different welfare,
    policy and political implications. Each has
    different implications
  • A few (2-4) large groups of roughly equal size.
  • A few (or one ) large groups and many small.
  • One large group, and one or several small.
  • Measurement issues here too.
  • Fragmentation indices measures the probability
    that two randomly selected individuals will
    belong to different ethnolinguistic groups.
  • Polarisation indices. Larger more distribution
    approaches bimodal distribution.

18
Solutions?
  • Depend on why we want measures. Need aggregation
    etc. for cross-country comparisons. Not for one
    country study.
  • Despite data problems, usually can get some
    (imperfect) data from a variety of sources.
  • For country study complex measures unnecessary.
  • But unusual indicators are important e.g.
    police/army social networks
  • And specific indicators, rather than incomes
    education access government jobs.

19
Some examples of major HIs.
20
Chiapas, Mexico
21
Fiji a mixed picture
Inverse
22
Policy conclusions
  • HIs can be serious policy needs to address them,
    in all economies with marked inequalities.
  • NOT included in normal economic or political
    policies.
  • Policies similar to those towards exclusion

23
Policies can
  • Relate to process. V. important where processes
    previously biassed N.Ireland. (I.e. equal
    opportunities) But generally insufficient.
  • Focus on public sector (investment and
    employment) which is most visible and possibly
    provocative and ultimately affects private
    incomes. But impact on private opportunities slow
    and possibly ineffective.
  • Use regional policy, where groups are regionally
    concentrated or even district or neighbourhood
    policies.

24
Categories of policy
  • Assets
  • Land (Malaysia Zimbabwe Fiji Namibia)
  • Financial capital (Malaysia S.Africa)
  • Terms of privatisation
  • Credit (Fiji Malaysia)
  • Education (Malaysia Sri Lanka).
  • Skills and training (Brazil, New Zealand)
  • Public sector infrastructure (S.Africa).
  • Housing (N.Ireland).
  • Social capital? neighbourhoods clubs
  • Incomes
  • Employment policies
  • Public sector (Malaysia Sri Lanka)
  • Private sector (S.Africa)
  • Transfer payments (often for age or gender, not
    for ethnic group)
  • Terms of trade

25
Policies towards political HIs
  • Structures that ensure each group participates in
    political decision-making and power. Where one
    group dominates in population, Westminster
    majoritarian political system means minorities
    are excluded politically. Power sharing is NOT
    natural consequence of the way many understand
    democracy.
  • NB Participation can be at many levels (central,
    regional, local) and in different types of
    decision (defence, economic, social) and in
    different activities (army, police, civil
    service).
  • And participation can simply mean information
    sharing or involve initiation and control.

26
Policies towards political HIs
  • Constitution
  • Federal or unitary (and design)
  • Voting system majoritarian PR alternative
    vote.
  • Voting system within assemblies.
  • Job allocation (and numbers). Three Presidents in
    Bosnia-Herzogovinia.
  • Political parties
  • Multiparty?
  • Restrictions on parties
  • Citizenship rights. Who is a citizen?
  • Extent and nature of decentralisation

27
Policies towards political HIs (cont).
  • Formal or informal provisions for fair share of
    political posts at every level
  • Presidential
  • Cabinet
  • Senior civil service
  • Military
  • Police
  • Nigeria Federal character (formal) EU formal
    and informal Ghana, Bolivia, informal.

28
Experience with affirmative action economic and
social
  • Used quite frequently.
  • Major examples
  • Fiji
  • India
  • Malaysia
  • N.Ireland
  • S.Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • US

29
Main consequences of economic and social action
  • Positive
  • Mostly successful in reducing gaps, but rarely
    eliminates them. (But N.Ireland educ. Sri
    Lanka).
  • Does not seem to reduce efficiency. May increase
    it.
  • Negative
  • May reduce inter-group inequality, but increase
    intra-group. (But intra-group decreased in
    Malaysia more evidence needed).
  • It entrenches ethnicity as a category. But with
    sharp HIs these may be entrenched anyway
    (N.Ireland, US). If changes ethnic division of
    labour may reduce ethnic salience.
  • It can provoke political protest, Sri Lanka
    clearest example. But elsewhere reduces political
    violence Malaysia, N. Ireland, US

30
Experience with political action
  • On gaining independence many countries inherited
    Westminster model.
  • Divided countries often adopted new structures to
    protect minorities after problems
    (Bosnia-Herzogovinia, Ethiopia, Malaysia,
    Nigeria) , or because clearly only way of
    agreeing on common state (Belgium, Switzerland).
  • Currently quite large no. of cases.

31
Apparently successful types of action towards
political HIs
  • PR. But can still mean permanent minority.
  • Two chambers, one representing geographical
    areas. India, Nigeria.
  • Federal constitution. Belgium, Ethiopia, Nigeria,
    India, Switzerland. Consequences depend on nature
    of federalism and power of provinces Biafra
    Yugoslavia. Ethiopia .
  • Decentralisation in unitary state? (Bolivia).
  • Vetos of minorities in government. Belgium,
    Switzerland.
  • Seat reservations. India. Not enough to prevent
    domination.
  • Job reservations/quotas. Govt., civil service,
    police, army (N.Ireland).
  • Strong, ethnically balanced judiciary, plus
    constitutionally guaranteed human rights.
  • Many of these more an outcome than a cause of
    success in multiethnic government. Cf Fiji.

32
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35
N.Ireland a success?
  • His large, persistent and consistent over all
    dimensions over a long time period
  • By the end of the nineteenth century Protestants
    controlled the vast bulk of the economic
    resources of east Ulster - the best of its land,
    its industrial and financial capital, commercial
    and business networks, industrial skills.(Ruane
    and Todd 1996)
  • no narrowing of the gap between the communities
    from 1901 to 1970s, with Catholics disadvantaged
    at every level.
  • u/e gap widened
  • New policies to reduce gaps from late 1970s Fair
    Employment Acts, 1976 1989 housing policy.
    Police Acts 1998,2000, 2003 50 recruitment
    aim.

36
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37
But Protestant discontent
  • Case shows that action on HIs may need to precede
    peace.
  • It is unusual to find such a rate of social
    change within a generation. It is quite dramatic.
    In many areas Catholics have caught up with or
    surpassed Protestants (Osborne)
  • Most Ps in public sector older age group most
    younger entrants Cs.
  • Exodus of young Protestants to GB.
  • New report says Ps. perceive themselves
    disadvantaged. 39 believe they are worse off
    than six years ago.
  • 1996, 44 of Ps and 47 Cs thought
    inter-community relationships were better than
    five years previously.
  • 2003, 25 Ps and 33 Cs.

38
Political sensitivity Sri Lanka case
39
In conclusion
  • Where HIs a source of conflict, important to
    address them in post-conflict policies.
  • Range of policies available, economic and
    political, which can be effective without
    sacrifice of efficiency.
  • Many indirect and informal policies too.
  • Mostly have had peace-promoting political
    consequences, but political caution needed.
  • Policies needed in ANY society with sharp
    divisions, not only those with recent conflict.
  • Policies NOT part of many policy agendas.

40
Some policy implications
  • Policy should not be group blind, in political
    or economic terms.
  • But SAPs are.
  • Political conditionality/democracy often is.
  • Ethnic/group considerations in in aid, government
    expenditure, aim to correct inequalities.
  • Need to go beyond abolishing discrimination
    difficult to define because initial conditions
    may depend on past discrimination.
  • Affirmative action in employment, investment,
    assets policies.
  • Structured democracy.
  • Policies towards law, army, police.
  • Social capital (bridging) Varshney.
  • Support for human rights.

41
Politics of policy-making
  • Affirmative action can provoke conflict (Sri
    Lanka).
  • Difficult to get accepted where one group
    dominates politically or minority is politically
    weak.
  • Market policies can constrain policies
    (S.Africa).
  • Fairness between groups needs to become accepted
    norm, with implications for monitoring/data and
    policy.
  • Internationally as well as nationally.
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