1963-2018 - 55 years of Research for Social Change

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Blogs and Think Pieces

Highlights ...

Filling the Right Knowledge Gaps: What Tools do Policy Makers Really Need to Promote SSE Through Public Policies?

Filling the Right Knowledge Gaps: What Tools do Policy Makers Really Need to Promote SSE Through Public Policies? (17 Dec 2019) | Samuel Brülisauer, Gabriel Salathé-Beaulieu

The UNRISD project "Promoting SSE through Public Policies: Guidelines for Local Governments" aims, on the basis of original empirical evidence from six cities, to develop guidelines that local governments can use to design and implement public policies that support SSE organizations and enterprises. What type of information do policy makers want to see in these guidelines? To find out, the research team interviewed policy makers at different levels of governance (city/regional/national) active in Catalonia, Cyprus, Mali, Mexico City and South Africa. This think piece summarizes what they told us about their needs and expectations, and can guide further research as the project moves ahead.


The Shifting Landscape of Inequalities—What Have We Learned?

The Shifting Landscape of Inequalities—What Have We Learned? (12 Dec 2019) | Maggie Carter, Katja Hujo

While inequality has now firmly positioned itself as a key public policy issue, the development community still tends to focus in large part on the bottom of the pyramid, the poorest of the poor. This think piece rounds out a series which was launched as a way of continuing the conversations that began during the UNRISD conference Overcoming Inequalities in a Fractured World: Between Elite Power and Social Mobilization and seeks to shift the perspective towards the top of the pyramid.


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Politiques de la reconnaissance et justice sociale en Afrique : Les stratégies d’inclusion politique par l’identité ethnique contribuent-elles à la réduction des inégalités ?

Politiques de la reconnaissance et justice sociale en Afrique : Les stratégies d’inclusion politique par l’identité ethnique contribuent-elles à la réduction des inégalités ? (11 Nov 2019) | Anatole Fogou

Depuis le milieu du XXe siècle, la revendication de droits collectifs et sociaux prend de plus en plus de l’ampleur au détriment ou concurremment aux droits individuels. Ceci a donné lieu dans certains pays à composition multiethnique, à des politiques publiques qui prennent pour fondement la reconnaissance d’identités particulières et notamment ethniques sans forcément résoudre les problèmes d’inégalités et d’injustice sociale. Cette réflexion assume l’idée que la solution pour ces sociétés multiethniques réside dans le façonnage d’un imaginaire national où les individus se pensent d’avantage comme citoyens égaux que comme membres d’une communauté particulière.


Inequalities: Are Our Hands Tied? Answers from Four Rockstars of the Realm

Inequalities: Are Our Hands Tied? Answers from Four Rockstars of the Realm (11 Sep 2019) | Martyna B. Linartas

Not only is economic inequality on the rise, but the research agenda on inequality has also moved decisively from the fringes to the centre of policy as well as academic interest, producing a vast amount of literature. In this think piece, Martyna B. Linartas reviews four of the most influential, but substantially different, recent works on the origins of economic inequality and the solutions they suggest to the problem. What is at the root of these competing narratives, and what implications do they have for policy making?


Citizenship and Equality in Latin America: A Troubled Link

Citizenship and Equality in Latin America: A Troubled Link (8 Aug 2019) | Luciano Enrique Andrenacci

As the 20th century drew to a close, Latin America witnessed an unexpectedly virtuous alignment of factors favouring “inclusive” citizenship. A combination of global economic and political change weakened long-standing power arrangements, providing a window of opportunity in the region to strengthen the otherwise troubled link between citizenship and equality. So how did this come about? This think piece traces the historical genesis of the connection between modern notions of citizenship and equality, and the highs (few) and lows (many!) of how it has played out in Latin America up to the present day.


We Cannot Take on Inequality Without Tax Justice

We Cannot Take on Inequality Without Tax Justice (2 Jul 2019) | Fariya Mohiuddin

At the heart of inequality is uneven access to key human rights such as health, housing and adequate living standards. Effective taxation is fundamental to addressing inequality in this form: by funding access, it creates a pathway for the progressive realization of human rights. Yet the links between inequality, rights provision and taxation have not always been clearly made in policy or in activism. This think piece is a contribution to filling this gap.


Shrinking Opportunities: Social Mobility and Widening Inequality in Vietnam

Shrinking Opportunities: Social Mobility and Widening Inequality in Vietnam (20 May 2019) | Andrew Wells-Dang and Vu Thi Quynh Hoa

Rising inequality is threatening Vietnam’s continued socio-economic development. Young people have fewer opportunities for higher earnings and improved social status than a decade ago. These trends make it harder for Vietnam to meet its commitments to achieve the SDGs and stand in contrast with its past experiences of inclusive growth. Our research shows how social mobility can provide a window into understanding mechanisms of inequality, especially among youth and disadvantaged social groups such as ethnic minorities. For many young people, industrial-led development is not delivering on expectations of greater social mobility.


Acciones para enfrentar la crisis global de aprendizajes en México: el caso de la Medición Independiente de Aprendizajes (MIA)

Acciones para enfrentar la crisis global de aprendizajes en México: el caso de la Medición Independiente de Aprendizajes (MIA) (23 Apr 2019) | Felipe J. Hevia, Samana Vergara-Lope

En zonas rurales y urbanas marginales del sureste de México se están desarrollando innovaciones educativas por parte de una alianza de organizaciones civiles y académicas denominada Medición Independiente de Aprendizajes—MIA. Su objetivo es mejorar los aprendizajes básicos y reducir las brechas de desigualdad educativa a través de la participación comunitaria. Los resultados obtenidos sugieren efectos positivos en Lectura y Matemáticas, y alta motivación de voluntarios, tutores y de los propios niños y niñas. Este modelo permite que la participación comunitaria genere cambios significativos en las desigualdades educativas. La simpleza y sistematicidad de sus procesos permiten su reproducción en diversas regiones de América Latina y el Caribe.


La promoción de cooperativas como política de inclusión por el trabajo en Argentina. Desafíos en el escenario socio-económico y político actual

La promoción de cooperativas como política de inclusión por el trabajo en Argentina. Desafíos en el escenario socio-económico y político actual (7 Mar 2019) | Malena Victoria Hopp

Desde 2003 se implementaron en Argentina programas de generación de cooperativas como estrategia de inclusión por el trabajo. Este ensayo analiza las potencialidades de estos programas y explora qué sucede cuando se les elimina, como ocurrió luego del cambio de gobierno en 2015. La nueva orientación de política pública debilitó el apoyo al trabajo cooperativo y favoreció la concentración de poder, derivada de la unificación de la elite política y económica. El reemplazo de cooperativas por transferencias de ingresos rompe con los espacios colectivos de trabajo y contribuye a profundizar desigualdades, mediante la individualización y asistencialización de las intervenciones sobre el desempleo y la pobreza.


Acting Against Their Own Interests: Why Elites Should Be More Progressive Than They Typically Are

Acting Against Their Own Interests: Why Elites Should Be More Progressive Than They Typically Are (15 Feb 2019) | Matias López

Could social policies to redistribute wealth and shore up democracy be in the interests of powerful and wealthy elites? According to interdisciplinary research, the answer is yes, as inequality entails several negative consequences that affect elite security. Yet as inequality increases, we are not seeing many changes in elites’ largely negative attitudes to such policies. This think piece argues that the way elites perceive inequality, not their actual material interest, is getting in the way of progress.