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Session Overview
7-SP106 - 1/2: Rethinking Inequalities in the Era of Growth Limits and Social Injustice - 1/2
Thursday, 08/July/2021:
11:00am - 12:15pm

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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Revealing the Diversity and Complexity behind Income Inequality in Latin America during Industrialisation

Pablo Astorga

Institut Barcelona Estudis Internacionals (IBEI), Spain

The period between 1920 and 1980 is of great importance for the study of inequality in Latin America because of the occurrence of state-led, protected industrialisation amid structural, demographic and institutional transformations. Although there are valuable contributions at the country level, the study of income inequality from a regional perspective has been hindered by limitations of comparable metrics. To address this gap this new dataset has been assembled including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela. The approach adopted distinguishes four occupational groups: the top group includes property owners, employers and professionals; the remaining three groups are defined according to the workers’ skill level, largely receiving wage income. This allows for the calculation of inequality between and within groups, as well as overall Ginis for all income and wage income. The frequency of the series is annual, making it possible to track closely inequality trajectories. Despite being a high-inequality region, this new evidence reveals great diversity of outcomes across the six countries and complexity within the occupational structure. It also makes it possible to examine the contribution of key drivers such as the terms of trade and structural change.

Inclusive Development and Sharing Eco-space

Crelis Rammelt, Joyeeta Gupta

University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, The

This paper examines the need for expanding the spectrum of research on inclusive development in the context of the Anthropocene. This expansion starts with the recognition of hard and soft eco-systemic limits, which inevitably raises questions about how resources, responsibilities and risks associated with the available eco-space will be shared between all. First, the paper makes the argument that climate change and other ecological threats must be central to the concept of inclusive development, i.e., ecological inclusiveness. It also argues for addressing the key drivers of environmental degradation in tandem with those of global inequality in its various forms. Here, inclusive development should go beyond purely financial dimensions towards social and relational inclusiveness, through which solidarity can be extended and nurtured. Social and relational inclusiveness relies (1) on a firm grasp of the spectrum of often-conflicting analyses, from discursive/argumentative to instrumental as well as statistical interpretations; and (2) on the promotion of global constitutionalism and rule of law in order to restrict the adverse impacts of unequal power relations on the concentration of wealth and the available eco-space, such as privatisation of the commons, tax evasion/avoidance and so on. Throughout the paper, we make the argument that growth may not be compatible with environmental limits or with addressing the social floors.

Inequality And Climate Change: The Within-Countries Distributional Effects Of Global Warming

David Castells-Quintana

Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain

There is now evidence that climate change has increased inequality between countries. And there is also recent empirical evidence suggesting that climate change has an impact on the spatial concentration of economic activity, with important consequences on how income and wealth is spatially generated and captured within countries. However, to date, there is no empirical evidence the role of climate change on income inequality within countries

Climate change usually has greater impacts in rural than urban areas, and rural areas are, on average, poorer than urban areas. Moreover, in both rural and urban areas, climate change usually hits disproportionally the more vulnerable: the leave in riskier locations, they are the first to be displaced by climatic shocks, they depend more on climate-dependent activities, they have less coping mechanisms to deal with climatic shocks (i.e., savings, access to financial services, etc.), and public response (adaptation) is usually addressed to protect valuable assets own by the rich. Finally, climatic shocks reinforce poverty traps, conflict and instability, which usually affect the poor more than the rich.

Looking at a global panel of countries with information for income inequality and different climatic variables for the last decades, in this paper we provide empirical evidence suggesting that worsening climatic conditions are leading no only to a reallocation of population and economic activity across space and economic sectors, but also to worse distributions of incomes within countries. This effect seems to be stronger in developing countries, especially those with initially challenging climatic conditions (i.e., arid countries or countries with extreme weather).

The Prism of Global Inequality. A Multidimensional Country Classification

Rogelio Madrueño, Sergio Tezanos

University of Göttingen, Germany

Inequality is a multidimensional problem that requires a globally coordinated strategy, such as the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

This paper builds an international and multidimensional taxonomy of economic inequalities that takes into account five main dimensions: household income, wealth growth of the rich, income concentration, income growth of the poor, and the State’s capacity to tackle inequalities.

In order to build a realistic taxonomy, we take into consideration a broad view of the income and wealth distribution based on different measures of economic inequality. And, by means of a hierarchical cluster analysis we identify five groups of countries with distinctive inequality characteristics and show that, despite national and regional specificities, both developed and developing countries face important difficulties in reducing inequalities.

In practical terms, the resulting classification may be useful for monitoring the 10thSustainable Development Goal (i.e. “reduce inequality within and among countries”) because it depicts a complex world map with a non ‘linear’ representation of economic inequality levels (where there is no group of countries with the best or worst indicators in all the indicators) and facilitates the identification of the key characteristics (and challenges) of each cluster. Therefore, a non “one size fits all” international strategy is needed in order to effectively address the different patterns of inequality that we have identified across the World.

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