59 research outputs found

    The Relationship between Perceptions of Inequality and Political Participation: The Case of the Western Balkans

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    This paper discusses how disparities and in particular perceptions of inequality may have influenced political participation in Western Balkans over the last years. The arrival of the international crisis in the last quarter of 2008 has had not only economic but also significant political consequences on the region. While citizens’ participation through conventional channels has continued decreasing, there has been a rising opposition to political and economic institutions channelled by the emergence of new social movements. This paper shows that these political changes were largely motivated not by observed changes in income distribution but by people’s perceptions of rising disparities between rich and poor. This analysis is further supported by the empirical testing of a number of mechanisms that may shape the relationship between inequality and political participation such as expectations, changes in living conditions and corruption.Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperatio

    Taxation and inequality in developing countries - Lessons from the recent experience of Latin America

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    This paper aims to advance understanding about the relationship between taxation and inequality in developing countries, focusing on the recent experience of Latin America. Although the tax system was regressive in the 1990s, tax changes promoted equality in the first decade of the 2000s. In particular, the increasing contribution of direct taxes with respect to indirect taxes promoted the progressivity of the tax system and contributed to the reduction of inequality. Yet, the effectiveness of taxation in promoting equality in Latin America is still limited by several factors such as the low average tax revenue as percentage of gross domestic product, the relative high contribution of indirect taxes, the inability to tax top incomes, and the low contribution of taxes on property

    Inequality, Distributive Beliefs and Protests: A Recent Story from Latin America

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    This paper analyses the role of perceptions of inequality and distributive beliefs in motivating people to engage in protests. The paper focuses on the case of Latin America, where an interesting paradox has been observed: despite considerable reductions in inequality, most countries in Latin America have experienced increases in protests and civil unrest in the last decade. In order to understand this paradox, we analyse the relationship between inequality and protests in recent years in Latin America, using micro-level data on individual participation in protests in 2010, 2012 and 2014. The results show that civil protests are driven by distributive beliefs and not by levels of inequality because individual judgements and reactions are based on own perceptions of inequality that may or may not match absolute levels of inequality. The results also point to the important role of government policy in affecting perceptions of inequality and ensuring social and political stability

    Inequality, Power and Participation – Revisiting the Links

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    Drawing on the contributions from the World Social Science Report 2016, Challenging Inequalities: Pathways to a Just World, this article examines the relationship between economic inequality and political participation. In particular, using the lens of the ‘power cube’ approach (www.powercube.net), we argue that understanding the impact of inequality on political participation requires moving beyond the study of its impact on more conventional forms of participation found in voting and ‘voice’ through established or formal democratic processes. Indeed, this relationship is also influenced by hidden and invisible forms of power, at multiple levels from the local to the global, which affect the rules of the game as well as individuals’ aspiration to participate, shaping whether, where and how citizens engage at all. Despite the power of inequality to shape its own consensus, recent evidence also points to the emergence of levels and forms of resistance to inequality outside of traditional channels of participation, which in turn help to expand and prefigure notions of what the new possibilities of change might be. Exploring these dynamics, the article concludes with a brief reflection on possible lessons for activists, policymakers and scholars working to understand, unravel and challenge the knotty intersections of inequality, power and participation

    A New Fiscal Pact, Tax Policy Changes and Income Inequality

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    The paper analyses the changes in tax policy, tax/GDP ratios, tax incidence and income inequality which have taken place in Latin America during the last decade against the background of the changes observed in these variables during the liberal years of the 1980s and 1990s. The paper argues that the recent tax policy changes and a favourable external environment led to an increase of about three points in the regional tax/GDP ratio, that such increase in taxation took place in a slightly or substantially more progressive way than in the past, that the Gini coefficient of the distribution of household income improved on average by 0.4-0.8 points, and that, as a result, redistribution via taxation improved (especially in the Southern Cone) in relation to the 1990s thanks to greater reliance on direct taxes and a reduction in excises. However, in the mid-late 2000s taxation remains unequalizing in about a third of the countries of the region, especially in Central America. The paper concludes by offering recommendations on how the new fiscal pact evolving in the region can be strengthened to improve the redistributive effect of taxation in the years ahead.tax policy, tax incidence, income inequality, redistribution, fiscal exchange, Latin America

    Spatial inequality during the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa using night-time lights data

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    In this paper, we study the evolution of spatial inequality during the recent COVID-19 pandemic in Africa and assess if there is any association between the outbreak of the health crisis, the strictness of policy restrictions and the changes observed in spatial inequality. Using remotely sensed night time lights data, we find that spatial inequality decreased after the COVID-19 outbreak. Yet, there are huge differences within and between countries. Spatial inequality decreased in Southern and Northern African countries while it increased in Central African countries. Spatial inequality mainly decreased in countries implementing more stringent measures but also in those areas that were richer before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic

    Spatial inequality during the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa using night-time lights data

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    In this paper, we study the evolution of spatial inequality during the recent COVID-19 pandemic in Africa and assess if there is any association between the outbreak of the health crisis, the strictness of policy restrictions and the changes observed in spatial inequality. Using remotely sensed night time lights data, we find that spatial inequality decreased after the COVID-19 outbreak. Yet, there are huge differences within and between countries. Spatial inequality decreased in Southern and Northern African countries while it increased in Central African countries. Spatial inequality mainly decreased in countries implementing more stringent measures but also in those areas that were richer before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic

    The Competing Influences of Initial Depressive Symptomatology and Early Alliance on Early Outcome: A Preliminary Study

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    We examined 40 psychotherapies, some delivered in combination with pharma-cotherapy, which were all conducted by cognitive behavioral or psychodynamically oriented therapists in a general hospital center for the treatment of light to moder-ate depressive disorders. Our goal was to examine the relationship between early outcome (defined as change in Beck Depression Inventory scores between sessions 2 and 15) and early therapy alliance (as measured at sessions 1 to 5 by the Working Alliance Inventory). We also wanted to concurrently examine the effect of initial depressive symptomatology (BDI at session 2) on early outcome. For the entire sample, both early alliance and initial depressive symptomatology were found to significantly correlate with outcome, the latter more strongly so. However, after di-viding the patient sample into subgroups based on different initial levels of depres-sion, early outcome for patients with depression of intermediate severity was found to be better predicted by early alliance than by initial depression. These results sug-gest that there may be a patient subgroup for whom a good early alliance optimally mitigates the self-perpetuating action of initial depression

    How humanitarian are Germans towards refugees?

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    This paper uses data collected in May 2023 to better understand how Germans feel towards Syrian refugees. Generally, while feelings of different types of humanitarian concern (safety, material wellbeing, health, future opportunities) were similar, threat feelings (welfare, safety, culture) were slightly higher with the notable exception of less concern about labour market competition. We find that younger people, people with a university degree, or people with a migration background feel less threatened by the immigration of refugees with the most significant differences in attitudes towards refugees based on people’s social and political values. Respondents with stronger humanitarian orientations, higher trust levels and who do not place themselves on the right side of the political spectrum, show markedly higher levels of humanitarian concerns and lower threat perceptions. In addition to measuring attitudes, we also measured respondents’ solidarity towards refugees. Only 29 percent and 23 percent of respondents are willing to sign a petition in favour of financial aid to refugee camps or admissions to Germany, respectively. Respondents with higher levels of social trust are much more likely to express their support for more camp assistance than less trusting respondents. Regarding refugee admissions, a stark divide emerges along political lines, with individuals on the political left showing much greater openness to admitting refugees than those on the right. We find limited support for housing refugees in Germany, especially when asking for respondents’ willingness to accommodate refugees privately
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