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Session Overview
8-SP106 - 2/2: Rethinking Inequalities in the Era of Growth Limits and Social Injustice - 2/2
Thursday, 08/July/2021:
12:30pm - 1:45pm

Session Chair: Dr. Rogelio Madrueño, University of Göttingen, Germany
Session Chair: José María Larrú, Universidad San Pablo-CEU, CEU Universities, Spain
Session Chair: Dr. David Castells-Quintana, Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain

Session Abstract

Inequality is above all a multidimensional problem. It is by no means a complex issue that requires global solutions in accordance with the challenge imposed by the new international environment. More importantly, the emergence of new global challenges questions the possibility of achieving a proper balance between growth, social justice and climate change, which involves an obstacle for the promotion of social development, solidarity and the reduction of inequality. This panel aims to find new understandings to the notion of inequalities (opportunity, income, wealth, gender, etc.) in order to enrich both contemporary development discourse and global cooperative solutions.

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Ethnicity, Religiosity, and Political Islam: Horizontal Inequalities in Turkey

Cem Oyvat1, Hasan Tekgüç2, Alper Yağcı3

1University of Greenwhich, UK; 2Kadir Has University, Turkey; 3Boğaziçi University, Turkey

In societies that are horizontally fragmented between identity-based social groups, electoral competition is often motivated by the desire to use public office to advance group interests (Alesina et al 1999, Bates 1983, Miquel 2007). Office holders may direct state resources to the favored group, however, their ability to do so will be limited when the state does not have access to substantial natural resource or foreign aid rent. We focus on the case of Turkey to study group favoritism in such a context. Two politically salient social cleavages dominate Turkey, one that runs between religiosity and secularism, and one that runs between the ethnic Turkish majority and the Kurdish minority (Mardin 1973, Carkoglu and Hinich 2006). Among the three groups defined by these cross-cutting cleavages, secular Turks were conventionally considered to have the highest social-economic status. However, since the religiously conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP after its Turkish initials) came to power in 2002, it has been widely argued that the relationship between these groups and state power has changed, with concomitant economic outcomes (Bugra and Savaskan 2014).

In this paper we empirically analyze whether AKP’s time in office has actually been associated with a relative improvement in the education, employment and income status of religious Turks, compared to secular Turks and ethnic Kurds. Rigorous individual level empirical study of this question has so far remained limited since official household income surveys in Turkey do not include questions about ethnicity or religiosity. We fill this gap by exploiting the Barometre series of KONDA—a respected private polling company, which surveys representative samples of Turkey’s adult population monthly. We exploit individual-level survey data that spans the available 2012-2018 period in pooled cross-sectional fashion, and in order to analyze whether age cohorts that joined the labor market before and after AKP came to power experience varying outcomes in employment and income depending on their ethnicity and religiosity. The preliminary findings are striking. We first confirm that across the entire pooled sample, secular Turks perform highest in terms of university degree attainment, employment in the higher-status jobs, and income; while religious Turks come second and Kurds the last (secular and religious Turks are equally likely to be employed in public sector). We then find that under AKP rule religious Turks displayed significant improvement in the ratio of those in public sector employment and upper-status jobs while Kurds experienced no trend change and secular Turks experienced relative decline. In fact, for the youngest cohorts, the gap between secular and religious Turks in public employment has already almost closed. Finally, income per capita improved for all three groups but the fastest improvement has been among religious Turks. Our findings suggest that AKP governments use public employment to reward like-minded groups. Our project is still ongoing and in addition to these between-group inequalities we will investigate changing trends in within-group inequalities.

Gender Disparities in Multidimensional Poverty in Developing Countries: An assessment based on a new individual poverty index

Francesco Burchi1, Jose' Espinoza-Delgado2, Daniele Malerba1, Claudio E. Montenegro3

1German Development Institute (DIE), Germany; 2University of Goettingen; 3University of Chile and World Bank

It has been often argued that there are high gender inequalities in poverty, with women experiencing larger deprivations. In particular, at the 1995 United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, it was argued that in the world about 70% of the poor were women and that over time the incidence of female poverty was growing in comparison with male poverty, giving birth to the so-called feminization of poverty. However, so far, it has been impossible to adequately assess the intensity of the gender disparities in poverty, especially for low- and middle-income countries. This is because monetary poverty is measured at household level, under the assumption that income is equally shared among all household members or eventually distributed on the basis of physical needs (by using the equivalence scales). Therefore, the only possible comparison has been between female and male-headed households.

Another debate on the meaning of poverty (as well as inequality), has contributed to the conceptualization of poverty as a multidimensional phenomenon, as clearly recognized in the formulation of the first Sustainable Development Goal of the 2030 Agenda. This has led to the proliferation of new attempts to measure and assess multidimensional poverty. This stream of the literature, however, has not contributed much to shedding light on the relationship between gender and poverty across countries. This despite the fact that a bulk of feminist literature has highlighted the need to focus on dimensions other than income to properly capture female deprivations. The most known and widespread index, the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), being constructed at household level, suffers from the same problems of income-based measures.

This paper tries to reveal gender disparities in poverty, by adopting a new index of multidimensional poverty, called Global Correlation Sensitive Poverty Index (G-CSPI). The G-CSPI has two fundamental advantages over the existing indices in addressing this question. First, it is an individual measure, as it focuses on adults in the 15-65 age group. Therefore, we can differentiate the individual poverty status of different individuals living in the same household. Second, it focuses on key dimensions for women, in particular education and decent work, the latter being missing in the MPI. In conclusion, we can provide much more clarity on the question whether there is a tendency for poverty to become disproportionally a female matter.

We focus on the period starting from the establishment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The analysis relies on a total sample of 60 low- and middle-income countries, for which data for multiple years are available. While the countries included in the study are located in different world regions, the largest coverage concerns sub-Saharan African, and Latin America and the Caribbean. The preliminary analysis reveals no significant gender disparities in poverty in 2000 at the global level. However, since 2000 multidimensional poverty declined slightly more among men than women, indicating a minimal process of feminization of poverty. This was triggered by the decline in employment poverty, which was much slower among women. Given that the (few) existing studies focusing on high-income or upper middle-income countries concluded that there was no evidence for a feminization of poverty, this is a novel finding in the literature.

In conclusion, this paper intends to contribute to the panel on “Rethinking inequalities in the era of growth limits and social injustice” by proposing an index of multidimensional poverty that accounts for inequality (among the poor) and, above all, by investigating the static and dynamic gender inequalities in multidimensional poverty. The preliminary results, differently from what expected, point to a relatively gender equality in poverty levels, though findings differ across regions and countries.

Social Justice, Fair Wages And Universal Basic Income

José María Larrú

Universidad San Pablo-CEU, CEU Universities, Spain

The work traces the origin of the term social justice and relates it to distributive and commutative justice. The validity of the fair wage category in relation to distributive justice is discussed in the context of the absence of individual negotiation between worker and capitalist of the current economy. Regarding commutative justice, the validity of a universal basic income is discussed without any contribution to society in the form of work. The three areas of discussion are illuminated from Christian social thought. It is concluded that social justice is a valid category at present but must be linked to the common good and the virtue of responsibility. The fair salary must take into account the needs of the worker and his family but also the asymmetric bargaining power that occurs in the capitalist fixing of wages. As regards universal basic income, Christian social thought leaves freedom for its possible implementation, although work is a personal activity and therefore guaranteed public work is also an attractive option to guarantee a minimum vital income.

The Social, Political And Economic Dimensions Of Inequality In Chile And Ecuador

Fabio Andres Diaz1, Maria Gabriela Palacio2

1University of Cape Town, South Africa; 2University of Leiden, The Netherlands

Inequality is a multifaceted concept with social, economic and political implications. Inequality and and precarity are intertwined. Precarity signals marginalization, informality, insecurity or relegation. Reflecting on how inequality and precarity are intertwined and influenced by local and global actors, illustrates the forces at play in a city and how these forces condition the available opportunities for their (urban) population.

As the protests in Quito (Ecuador) in 2019 illustrate, international financial institutions, such as the IMF, pose conditions to fund loans to countries in the Global South, which translate in a series of measures that in the case of Ecuador, compromised the precariousness of citizens living at the margins of the city and the state. Protests emerged as a response to the announcement of a reduction in fuel subsidies and an associated increase in the costs of transport. In Chile, the decision to increase in the cost of the metro fare was not directly imposed by foreign creditors but taken domestically. Protestors who took the streets in Chile not only expressed the frustration with the hike in transport prices, but the increasing cost of living, privatised pensions and low wages, all amounting to an increase in inequality and marginalisation of vulnerable populations over the past 30 years. In both cases, massive protests drove governments to reverse the lack of social justice.

The increase in transport costs meant a reduction in the spatial mobility of citizens in both countries. When disaggregating the effects and closely examining the populations most affected by these measures, it is evident that mobility correlates with inequality and marginalisation. These measures not only affected those living in poverty but posed a threat to marginalised and vulnerable groups across different income strata as they could easily fall back into poverty. Thus, the measures taken in both countries exposed the compounding barriers that have maintained structural inequalities.

This article reflects on how the announced increase in transport costs brought attention to the fault lines of inequality and marginalisation that limit mobility and illustrate the lack of social justice in the cases of Chile and Ecuador. To this aim, it provides an in-depth discussion of the recent protests that took place in both countries as of 2019, situating them in their historical context and reflecting on the role of inequality and mobility in deepening precarity of marginalized citizens.

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