Important differences exist between communities with respect to their needs, capacities, and circumstances. As central governments are not able to discern these differences fully, they seek to achieve their policy objectives by relying on decentralized mechanisms that use local information. However, household and individual characteristics within communities can also vary substantially. A growing theoretical literature suggests that inequality within communities can influence policy outcomes, and that this influence could be harmful or helpful, depending on the circumstances. Empirical investigations into the impact of inequality have, to date, largely been held back by a lack of systematic evidence on community-level inequality. The authors use household survey and population census data to estimate per capita consumption inequality within communities in three developing countries: Ecuador, Madagascar, and Mozambique. Communities are found to vary markedly from one another in terms of the degree of inequality they exhibit. The authors also show that there should be no presumption that inequality is less severe in poor communities. They argue that the kind of community-level inequality estimates generated in this paper can be used in designing and evaluating decentralized antipoverty programs.
"Encountering Poverty disrupts the new optimism about poverty action, challenging mainstream frameworks of global poverty. Going beyond poverty as a problem that can be solved through economic resources or technological interventions, the book focuses on the power and privilege underpinning persistent impoverishment. It explores poverty action's place in the opportunities and limits of the current moment, with its rapacious market forces and resurgent social and civil rights movements. Encountering Poverty invites students, educators, activists, and development professionals to think and act against inequality by foregrounding, not sidestepping, the long history of development and the ethical dilemmas of poverty action today."--Provided by publisher.
Groundbreaking analysis showing that greater economic equality-not greater wealth-is the mark of the most successful societies, and offering new ways to achieve it. "Get your hands on this book."-Bill Moyers This groundbreaking book, based on thirty years' research, demonstrates that more unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within them-the well-off and the poor. The remarkable data the book lays out and the measures it uses are like a spirit level which we can hold up to compare different societies. The differences revealed, even between rich market democracies, are striking. Almost every modern social and environmental problem-ill health, lack of community life, violence, drugs, obesity, mental illness, long working hours, big prison populations-is more likely to occur in a less equal society. The book goes to the heart of the apparent contrast between material success and social failure in many modern national societies. The Spirit Level does not simply provide a diagnosis of our ills, but provides invaluable instruction in shifting the balance from self-interested consumerism to a friendlier, more collaborative society. It shows a way out of the social and environmental problems which beset us, and opens up a major new approach to improving the real quality of life, not just for the poor but for everyone. It is, in its conclusion, an optimistic book, which should revitalize politics and provide a new way of thinking about how we organize human communities.
"The purpose of this report is to consider the legitimacy of the assumption that communities or societies with more unequal income distributions have poorer health outcomes. We present a critical review of the existing international literature on the relationship between income, income inequality and health, in terms of conceptual approaches, research methods and the policy implications drawn from it. Where possible, we also offer some guidance for judging between policy priorities based on the relative importance of income inequality versus other potential causal factors in determining population levels of health. An overview of the potential relationship between income, income inequality and health is set out, followed by a discussion of the methodological and technical issues required to explore these links. A literature review of what we consider to be the key contributions in the income inequality - health debate is presented, as is a re-analysis of data derived from Chapter 3 of Social Inequalities in Health: New Zealand 1999, which focuses on income, income inequality and health. We conclude that the relative effect of income inequality per se as a determinant of population health has been greatly exaggerated. The frequently observed association between income inequality and health at the regional level is likely to be a by-product of the non-linear relationship between individual income and health, although we cannot dismiss the possibility that income inequality may also act as a marker for other area characteristics that influence health. We stress that a life course approach is paramount for any study into the relationship between poverty and health, while the use of multi-level data analysis is fundamental in attempting to establish the relationship between income distribution and area level health status."--Publisher's website.
Chicago has long struggled with racial residential segregation, high rates of poverty, and deepening class stratification, and it can be a challenging place for adolescents to grow up. Unequal City examines the ways in which Chicago’s most vulnerable residents navigate their neighborhoods, life opportunities, and encounters with the law. In this pioneering analysis of the intersection of race, place, and opportunity, sociologist and criminal justice expert Carla Shedd illuminates how schools either reinforce or ameliorate the social inequalities that shape the worlds of these adolescents. Shedd draws from an array of data and in-depth interviews with Chicago youth to offer new insight into this understudied group. Focusing on four public high schools with differing student bodies, Shedd reveals how the predominantly low-income African American students at one school encounter obstacles their more affluent, white counterparts on the other side of the city do not face. Teens often travel long distances to attend school which, due to Chicago’s segregated and highly unequal neighborhoods, can involve crossing class, race, and gang lines. As Shedd explains, the disadvantaged teens who traverse these boundaries daily develop a keen “perception of injustice,” or the recognition that their economic and educational opportunities are restricted by their place in the social hierarchy. Adolescents’ worldviews are also influenced by encounters with law enforcement while traveling to school and during school hours. Shedd tracks the rise of metal detectors, surveillance cameras, and pat-downs at certain Chicago schools. Along with police procedures like stop-and-frisk, these prison-like practices lead to distrust of authority and feelings of powerlessness among the adolescents who experience mistreatment either firsthand or vicariously. Shedd finds that the racial composition of the student body profoundly shapes students’ perceptions of injustice. The more diverse a school is, the more likely its students of color will recognize whether they are subject to discriminatory treatment. By contrast, African American and Hispanic youth whose schools and neighborhoods are both highly segregated and highly policed are less likely to understand their individual and group disadvantage due to their lack of exposure to youth of differing backgrounds.
Seminar paper from the year 2014 in the subject Sociology - Knowledge and Information, University of Nairobi (Law), course: Social Foundations of Law, language: English, abstract: The presence of unequal opportunities and incentives for varied social statuses in a community or a state sums up my definition, which is open to debate, of inequality. These include the unequal distribution of resources and the distribution that is based on already established patterns that have been socially defined. In this context, there are categories of people in a given society and resources are distributed based on the category into which the people fall. Because of the inequalities in the society, the people at the upper classes would be always ahead of those in the lower-class. Those at the lower-class will therefore find it hard to abridge the wide gap between the classes. Some have said that education is the only way up the social ladder. A few however, refute the claim that no one needs to be educated to avoid poverty. That is education is no guaranteed solution for the inequalities They say, we cannot run to education as the only solution to poverty. Going to institutions of higher learning to find a way out of poverty or social problems should be out of anyone’s mind (Marsh, p12). However, such mentality is not in its entirety justifiable as the power of education cannot be underestimated. Education may not be the only way out, but at least it has a bearing on the overall call for equality. Having said this, my paper finds out and its main purpose is to provide a justification that education may be in one way or another, a way out of inequality and poverty as would be argued in the rest part of this paper.
Unequal Health contrasts popular beliefs about the relevance of such factors as sex, race, poverty, and health habits with research on those factors reported in the scientific literature. While the scientific research has burgeoned in recent years, the results are upsetting some firmly fixed beliefs regarding what people can or should do to improve their health.
Research Paper from the year 2010 in the subject Sociology - Law, Delinquency, Abnormal Behavior, grade: A, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine (-), language: English, abstract: Despite Trinidad and Tobago's wealth, experts say 25% live below the poverty line. According to Sookram (2008) more than a 1/4 of the population of oil-rich Trinidad lives below poverty line. Sookram said that 27.32% live below the poverty level despite the fact that Trinidad and Tobago has been classified as a high income country by the World Bank. "Is this why the crime rate in Trinidad and Tobago is probably the highest in the Caribbean?" David Garland (1996), posits that the group that suffer the most from crime tend to be the poorest and the least powerful members of society and will usually lack the resources to but security or the flexibility to adapt their routines or organized effectively against crime. This disparity between the rich and the poor which overlaps with the developing divisions between property- owning classes and those social groups who are deemed a threat to property will tend to propel us towards criminal behaviour. The term 'rich' may be defined as "the possession of material wealth, having abundant supply of desirable qualities or substances especially natural resources, having control of such assets and benefiting from the legislation." In contrast, 'poor' refers to the lack of specific resources, qualities or substances, with little or no possessions or money, having less than adequate in relation to the upper classes/the rich and wealthy. Socio-economic status is an economic and sociological combined measure of a persons work experience and of individual's or family's economic and social position relative to others based on income, education, wealth, occupation and social status in the community. As a result of this unequal distribution issue that arises between the rich and the poor, Clarke, Twoey (2001), has put fort the equitable solu
Rising income and wealth disparities are increasingly viewed as serious economic and social problems, but what are the environmental consequences of an unequal distribution of income and wealth? Are low income neighborhoods disproportionately negatively affected by pollution exposure, and does economic inequality thus manifest itself in environmental inequality? Are poor or unequal communities less successful in collectively organizing local environmental improvements and does inequality thus increase pollution exposure for all residents? This dissertation provides some empirical evidence on these questions. Chapter 1 analyzes regional variations in environmental disparities in US cities. Using geographic micro-data from EPA's Risk Screening Environmental Indicators on industrial air pollution exposure and socio-economic data from the US Census at the blockgroup-level, we find strong empirical evidence for environmental disparities by income and race/ethnicity in US cities. However, we also find some striking regional variations in the magnitude in cities across the country. A finding that stands out across regions is that race and ethnicity are stronger predictors for air pollution exposure in the poorer half of neighborhoods in US cities. Chapter 2 investigates if neighborhood inequality affects the neighborhood's organizing capacities for local environmental improvements, using census tract-level data on industrial air pollution from EPA's Risk Screening Environmental Indicators and income and demographic variables from the American Community Survey and EPA's Smart Location Database. Estimating a spatial model of pollution exposure, we find evidence that overall neighborhood inequality - as measured by the ratio between the fourth and the second income quintile or the neighborhood Gini coefficient - increases local exposure, whereas a concentration of top incomes reduces local exposure. Chapter 3 analyzes the socio-demographic correlates of proximity to fracking wells in five US states. The geocoded fracking well data were merged with blockgroup-level socio-economic variables from the American Community Survey and the Smart Location database; the socio-economic characteristics of neighborhoods with increased proximity to fracking activity were compared. I find that racial and ethnic minorities disproportionately live near fracking wells, and that educational attainments decline with proximity to fracking activity. However, there are substantial regional variations in these patterns.
The book introduces the non-specialist to key concepts like health inequalities and health inequities, social class and socioeconomic position, social determinants and life course, as well as to the key indicators of health and socioeconomic position.
Unequal Hopes and Lives in Pursuit of the American Dream
Author: Carol Graham
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Category: Business & Economics
How the optimism gap between rich and poor is creating an increasingly divided society The Declaration of Independence states that all people are endowed with certain unalienable rights, and that among these is the pursuit of happiness. But is happiness available equally to everyone in America today? How about elsewhere in the world? Carol Graham draws on cutting-edge research linking income inequality with well-being to show how the widening prosperity gap has led to rising inequality in people's beliefs, hopes, and aspirations. For the United States and other developed countries, the high costs of being poor are most evident not in material deprivation but rather in stress, insecurity, and lack of hope. The result is an optimism gap between rich and poor that, if left unchecked, could lead to an increasingly divided society. Graham reveals how people who do not believe in their own futures are unlikely to invest in them, and how the consequences can range from job instability and poor education to greater mortality rates, failed marriages, and higher rates of incarceration. She describes how the optimism gap is reflected in the very words people use—the wealthy use words that reflect knowledge acquisition and healthy behaviors, while the words of the poor reflect desperation, short-term outlooks, and patchwork solutions. She also explains why the least optimistic people in America are poor whites, not poor blacks or Hispanics. Happiness for All? highlights the importance of well-being measures in identifying and monitoring trends in life satisfaction and optimism—and misery and despair—and demonstrates how hope and happiness can lead to improved economic outcomes.
'Splendid and necessary' - Henry Marsh, author of Do No Harm, New Statesman There are dramatic differences in health between countries and within countries. But this is not a simple matter of rich and poor. A poor man in Glasgow is rich compared to the average Indian, but the Glaswegian's life expectancy is 8 years shorter. The Indian is dying of infectious disease linked to his poverty; the Glaswegian of violent death, suicide, heart disease linked to a rich country's version of disadvantage. In all countries, people at relative social disadvantage suffer health disadvantage, dramatically so. Within countries, the higher the social status of individuals the better is their health. These health inequalities defy usual explanations. Conventional approaches to improving health have emphasised access to technical solutions – improved medical care, sanitation, and control of disease vectors; or behaviours – smoking, drinking – obesity, linked to diabetes, heart disease and cancer. These approaches only go so far. Creating the conditions for people to lead flourishing lives, and thus empowering individuals and communities, is key to reduction of health inequalities. In addition to the scale of material success, your position in the social hierarchy also directly affects your health, the higher you are on the social scale, the longer you will live and the better your health will be. As people change rank, so their health risk changes. What makes these health inequalities unjust is that evidence from round the world shows we know what to do to make them smaller. This new evidence is compelling. It has the potential to change radically the way we think about health, and indeed society.
"In the absence of household level data on participation in public programs, spending allocations and poverty measures across regions of Morocco are used to infer incidence across poor and non-poor groups and to decompose incidence within rural and urban areas separately, as well as to decompose improvements in enrollment rates across poor and non-poor children by gender. Programs appear to be well targeted to the rural poor but not to the urban poor. Substantial benefits accrue to the urban non-poor, while benefits largely bypass the urban poor. The analysis also uncovers evidence of impressive progress in primary and secondary school enrollments for the poor, as well as for poor girls since 1994. However, here too, the gains are concentrated on the rural poor. This paper--a product of the Public Services Team, Development Research Group--is part of a larger effort in the group to assess the incidence and targeting of public expenditures"--World Bank web site.
Abstract: The authors propose a modification to the conventional approach of decomposing income inequality by population sub-groups. Specifically, they propose a measure that evaluates observed between-group inequality against a benchmark of maximum between-group inequality that can be attained when the number and relative sizes of groups under examination are fixed. The authors argue that such a modification can provide a complementary perspective on the question of whether a particular population breakdown is salient to an assessment of inequality in a country. As their measure normalizes between-group inequality by the number and relative sizes of groups, it is also less subject to problems of comparability across different settings. The authors show that for a large set of countries their assessment of the importance of group differences typically increases substantially on the basis of this approach. The ranking of countries (or different population groups) can also differ from that obtained using traditional decomposition methods. Finally, they observe an interesting pattern of higher levels of overall inequality in countries where their measure finds higher between-group contributions.
A hardheaded book that confronts and outlines possible solutions to a seemingly intractable problem: that helping the poor often hurts the environment, and vice versa. Can we fight poverty and inequality while protecting the environment? The challenges are obvious. To rise out of poverty is to consume more resources, almost by definition. And many measures to combat pollution lead to job losses and higher prices that mainly hurt the poor. In Unsustainable Inequalities, economist Lucas Chancel confronts these difficulties head-on, arguing that the goals of social justice and a greener world can be compatible, but that progress requires substantial changes in public policy. Chancel begins by reviewing the problems. Human actions have put the natural world under unprecedented pressure. The poor are least to blame but suffer the most—forced to live with pollutants that the polluters themselves pay to avoid. But Chancel shows that policy pioneers worldwide are charting a way forward. Building on their success, governments and other large-scale organizations must start by doing much more simply to measure and map environmental inequalities. We need to break down the walls between traditional social policy and environmental protection—making sure, for example, that the poor benefit most from carbon taxes. And we need much better coordination between the center, where policies are set, and local authorities on the front lines of deprivation and contamination. A rare work that combines the quantitative skills of an economist with the argumentative rigor of a philosopher, Unsustainable Inequalities shows that there is still hope for solving even seemingly intractable social problems.