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Dimensions of inequality Tania Burchardt London School of Economics Prepared for ESDS conference on social inequality London, 20 June 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "Dimensions of inequality Tania Burchardt London School of Economics Prepared for ESDS conference on social inequality London, 20 June 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dimensions of inequality Tania Burchardt London School of Economics Prepared for ESDS conference on social inequality London, 20 June 2005

2 Outline Why inequality? Equality of what? –process –outcomes –opportunities Equality between whom? Conclusion: values, policies & data

3 Why inequality? New Labour: anti-poverty, but not pro- equality?

4 Poverty since 1997 Simulated impact of tax-benefit policies on % below 60% contemporary median BHC income, and actual change in poverty ChildrenPension- ers Working age w/o children All If no change in policy since 1997 (assuming price linking) 27 1320 2004/05 policies15191314 Policy impact (%change)-44-300 Actual change in poverty (% change) -160+8-5 Source: Sefton and Sutherland, using HBAI data, in Hills and Stewart (eds) (2005)

5 Inequality since 1997 Simulated impact of tax-benefit policies on income inequality, and actual changes Gini coefficient90/10 ratio If no change in policy since 1997 (assuming price linking) 0.334.35 2004/05 policies0.313.66 Policy impact-0.02-0.31 Actual change in inequality +0.01-0.05 Source: Sefton and Sutherland, using POLIMOD, in Hills and Stewart (eds) (2005)

6 Why inequality? New Labour: anti-poverty, but not pro- equality? Economic efficiency?

7 Why inequality? New Labour: anti-poverty, but not pro- equality? Economic efficiency? Welfare maximisation?

8 Why inequality? New Labour: anti-poverty, but not pro- equality? Economic efficiency? Welfare maximisation? Social justice –rival theories of justifiable inequalities

9 Equality of what? I: Process Libertarianism (eg Robert Nozick) Equality of respect (eg Jo Wolff) Uncommon in social policy. Prevalent in spheres of legal justice, democracy, market transactions. Not well covered in survey data. What have you got?, rather than, How did you get it? Qualitative approaches more suitable?

10 Qualitative research on the process of claiming disability benefits for children Everybody kept telling me this is a child with special needs …but nobody actually told me that I was entitled to help – my health visitor, my GP, my social worker – Im on good terms with all of them but they didnt tell me. (Caroline, recently awarded DLA for her 3-year old son Sam) You feel sort if inadequate...we dont like asking people for money, we dont like claiming for benefit...I feel quite guilty – I feel like Im sponging off the system – thats how youre made to feel. (Lily, herself disabled, and mother of a disabled child) Source: Helter Skelter: families, disabled children and the benefit system, by Gabrielle Preston, CASEpaper 92

11 Equality of what? II: Outcomes Welfarism eg John Harsanyi Liberal egalitarianism eg John Rawls absent from policy rhetoric but prevalent in design & evaluation of social policies income inequality multi-dimensional measures? amply covered in survey data

12 Inequality of health outcomes Trends in mortality by social class, England and Wales Ratio in 1986-92: 1.69 Ratio in 1986-92: 1.54 Ratio in 1997-99: 1.75 Ratio in 1997-99: 1.41 Source: Sassi (2005) using ONS longitudinal study, in Hills and Stewart (eds)

13 Equality of what? III: Opportunities Meritocracy –equalise resources, so that talent and effort are rewarded Responsibility egalitarianism eg Ronald Dworkin –equalise resources and and compensate for talents, so that effort is rewarded Capability approach eg Amartya Sen –equalise positive freedom to achieve valued functionings Opportunity = resources + talents + effort + luck

14 Meritocracy? Men 1958 cohort Men 1970 cohort Women 1958 cohort Women 1970 cohort Non-poor hh at age 16 Poor hh at age 16 ref -0.061** ref -0.063** ref -0.029 ref -0.072** Highest qual none CSE/other O-levels A-levels Higher other quals Degree of above ref 0.057** 0.138** 0.117** 0.173** 0.120** ref 0.017 0.147** 0.193** 0.174** 0.289** ref 0.059* 0.089** 0.168** 0.228** 0.281** ref 0.048 0.182** 0.323** 0.284** 0.417** Controls for literacy and numeracy at age 10/11 yyyy Estimating the effects of childhood poverty and education on hourly earnings at age 23 (1958 cohort) / age 26 (1970 cohort) Source: McKnight (2002) Young Peoples Changing Routes to Independence

15 Data requirements for measuring inequality of opportunity Longitudinal (panel and cohort) Multi-level Availability of measures of –resources: OK for individual, poor for collective –talent: needs test results –effort: scarce, therefore indistinguishable from –luck: the residual, and –preferences: needs attitudinal questions.

16 Equality between whom? individuals genders, ethnic groups, other groups (David Blackaby) generations geographical areas nations (Roy Carr-Hill) requires data flexibility

17 Inequality between regions Regional share of work-poor wards, 1991 and 2001 Work-poor = 30% or more of working age pop are not in employment, education or training Source: Lupton (2005) Changing Neighbourhoods?, using Census data

18 Values, policies and data Policy rhetoric lacks consistent theory of social justice Mis-match between policy rhetoric and policy design Measurement mostly of outcomes; measuring opportunities and processes more challenging Examples have used a wide range of data: FRS, cohort studies, census, ONS longitudinal study, quali...and we need more!

19 References Alesina, A., Di Tella, R. and MacCulloch, R. (2001) Inequality and Happiness: are Europeans and Americans different? NBER working paper 8198 Bynner, J., Elias, P., McKnight, A., Pan, H. and Pierre, G. (2002) Young Peoples Changing Routes to Independence. York: York Publishing Services Hills, J. and Stewart, K. (eds) (2005) A More Equal Society: New Labour, poverty, inequality and exclusion. Bristol: The Policy Press Lupton, R. (2005) Changing Neighbourhoods? Mapping the geography of poverty and worklessness using the 1991 and 2001 censuses. CASE-Brookings Census Briefs No.3. http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/case/CBCB/census3.pdf http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/case/CBCB/census3.pdf Preston, G. (2005) Helter Skelter: families, disabled children and the benefit system, CASEpaper 92. http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/case/cp/CASEpaper92.pdf http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/case/cp/CASEpaper92.pdf Social Exclusion Unit (2004) Breaking the Cycle: taking stock of progress and priorities for the future. http://www.socialexclusionunit.gov.uk/downloaddoc.asp?id=262 http://www.socialexclusionunit.gov.uk/downloaddoc.asp?id=262 Wolff, J. (1998) Fairness, respect and the egalitarian ethos. Philosophy and Public Affairs, 27 (2): 97- 122


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