Report on the world social situation 2013

Inequality Matters

image of Report on the world social situation 2013
The 2013 report examines key drivers of inequality that have emerged in the recent past and the impact of rising inequality. It examines trends in social, economic and spatial inequalities and assesses why inequality matters in order to propose policy solutions to this persistent problem, paying particular attention to the potential role of empowerment and participation. The report highlights inequalities within and across countries and shows the cumulative, mutually-reinforcing effects these inequalities have on the systematic lack of participation and disadvantage of some social groups and on the intergenerational transmission of poverty. It discusses the role of economic and political institutions in promoting participation and empowerment.



The impact of inequality

The previous chapters showed that, both within and across countries, the rich have gained disproportionately from the economic growth of the past two decades. This rising inequality matters, not only for its effect on economic development processes, but also for its impact on poverty reduction, social mobility, social cohesion, political stability, and other aspects of social development. However, as highlighted in previous chapters, the arguments and evidence against inequality as an unavoidable by-product of development are growing. While some level of inequality can be incentivizing, there is growing recognition that too much inequality, and sustained periods of it, can derail economic progress and deepen—or create—the social and economic exclusion of large pockets of society.


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