We join forces with people and organisations around the world
The Visiting Atlantic Fellowship that led to this project took place between May and November 2017.
The Multidimensional Inequality Framework (MIF) is the outcome of a collaboration between academics at CASE (LSE’s Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion) and SOAS, led by Dr Abigail McKnight, and Oxfam. This project combined academic research with activist insights to develop a robust and pragmatic framework and toolkit that will help academics and practitioners improve their understanding of inequalities, beyond the usual focus on income inequality. In offering a better understanding of inequalities in any given context, and identifying main drivers and “candidate policies” for consideration, the MIF will help with effective campaign programming and policy-making.
The MIF builds on the latest academic research and integrates practitioner, activist and policy expertise held within Oxfam to produce a theoretically grounded yet practical approach to measuring and analysing inequalities. The MIF has now been trialled by Oxfam in in Guatemala, working with the Paraíso Desigual campaign and IDIES, and in Spain. There are additional pilots underway in Burkina Faso and Vietnam.
The initial project was funded by Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity, with further funding for the MIF website provided by LSE’s Knowledge Exchange and Impact Fund.
Download the Multidimensional Inequality Framework report (PDF)
Read more about the Multidimensional Inequality Framework
Read Abigail McKnight’s blog post about MIF
Follow the Multidimensional Inequality Framework project on Twitter: @MIF_LSE
Policy and Community Responses to Inequality
The University of Cape Town is working with Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity on a research project focused on strategies to address inequality in South Africa, with broader reference to Africa and developing countries in general.
The research is to be undertaken in two streams, focusing on policy responses to inequality, and community responses through a collaboration between the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance and the African Centre of Excellence in Inequality Research (ACEIR). The review of policy responses to inequality is being led by Professor Murray Leibbrandt and the review of community responses to inequality is being led by Hannah Diaz.
The first research stream aims to synthesise, review and promote debate on policies to overcome inequality in developing countries, contextualising and extending Tony Atkinkson’s framework for “Thinking Outside of the Box” as a conceptual framework. This holds significant potential to shape valuable policy dialogues across Africa.
The second research stream will adopt a case study approach, focusing on community-based and community-led responses to various types of inequality in South Africa, and exploring what makes particular interventions effective. Strategies and organisations will be analysed with particular attention placed on leadership and partnership dynamics, which the researchers consider to be critical to the success of community strategies, but not well understood in the South African context.
Inequality decline and the politics of redistribution
Rebecca Simson and Mike Savage
2017 - 2018
The current state of knowledge about inequality dynamics in developing regions remains inadequate. Given the growing concern about rising inequality globally, understanding more about the countries that have successfully reduced inequality and examining how and when governments have introduced redistributive policies may help to galvanize momentum for reform in other contexts. With this in mind, the III developed a research programme to study cases of inequality decline and redistributive policy-making in developing countries with a focus on the political conditions that led to their adoption.
The Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity programme supported an effort to map income inequality trends across the developing world, identifying countries where inequality has substantially declined in the past two decades. The results of this study were published as part of the III’s working paper series.
Download the III working paper “Mapping recent inequality trends in developing countries”.
Mapping the Fight Against Inequality
Fight Inequality Alliance, Jenny Ricks
June - December 2019
The Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity are working with the Fight Inequality Alliance to map the various groups, movement, and activists currently challenging inequality. This work will help to further the current understanding of the state of the fight against inequality, the numbers of active groups, their approaches, the challenges they face, and their successes.
This analysis aims to reveal best practice, successful tactics and trends, and will assist in further connecting disparate groups to build concerted and collective action. A report will be published in 2019.
2018 — ongoing
Inequality has risen to the top of the development agenda. But there remain large gaps in understandings of inequalities, both among scholars and among citizens. People rarely know where they fit in the income distribution, and have still less understanding of what it means to live a life at different points of the distribution – especially in a country as unequal as Mexico.
This project will produce a multidisciplinary and multimedia representation of inequality in Mexico, combining quantitative data, qualitative data, and visual representations in photographs and film.
The academic researchers are working with journalists from Periodismo CIDE, a leading academic school of journalism in Mexico, and Chilango, a journalist group, to interview people from across the income spectrum to explore their everyday experiences and their understandings of inequality. Photographs and film will capture aspects of their homes, neighbourhoods, the food they eat, and the public spaces in which they interact.
Once these quantitative interviews are concluded, the information will be featured in journalistic pieces in Mexico as well as feeding into Oxfam Mexico’s ongoing campaign work and being adapted into an online presentation.
Engagement on Strategies to Overcome Inequality in South Africa
Led by the University of Cape Town
While South Africa in many ways outperforms other African nations, rising inequality continues to act as a barrier to achieving economic transformation and equitable growth. A two-day event in Pretoria, South Africa was organised to disseminate research on inequality and to help formulate policies that will tackle these constraints head on.
The event brought together South African researchers and policy makers, a select group of international participants and some of South Africa’s leading NGOs/NPOs working in the policy space, to consolidate lessons from South African on strategies to overcome inequality and to connect with similar processes that have been running internationally. As part of the event a panel was assembled of key individuals from civil society to explore how they engage with inequalities.
The Power of Counter-Narratives?
Led by Mary Hodgson (the Young Foundation)
September - November 2017
This project was a research residency that explored how, and the extent to which, counter-narratives can be an important site of challenge and change.
Focusing on the unheard, alternative or counter-narrative in particular, and developing specific examples from the Young Foundation’s work in communities in the UK and with MONDRAGON (the world’s largest worker-led co-operative, based in Spain), the research looked at the ways in which counter-narratives expressed by seldom-heard groups develop new insights into the embodiment of inequality in everyday life and how it might be changed.
It also explored how they are a part of resistance and struggle, and drive social mission and vision, for example shaping alternative means and modes of action, as well as broader challenges to orthodoxy, through exploring praxis; the relationship between thought and action.The research is drawn from the Young Foundation’s recognition that narratives characterise and identify inequality problems as well as influence solutions.
Visiting Atlantic Fellows
Gender Inequalities in India
Addressing Gender Inequalities through Self-Help Groups in Gond Adivasi Communities of Kanker in India
For nearly three decades, the organisation Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN) has been working in the central Indian tribal heartland, to address chronic and abject poverty. The project, a collaboration with Professor Naila Kabeer of LSE’s Department of Gender Studies, explored how Adivasi Gond women in India understand and experience gender inequality and the extent to which current interventions around self-help groups of women address the same. It also aims to identify emergent pathways to engender processes of change. This project not only helps in rethinking practice but also aims to contribute to the growing concern amidst academia to bring subaltern voices (such as the Adivasi) to the forefront. Additionally, it is envisaged that findings from the research could inform policy within ongoing government programs for impact both on poverty and gender inequality.
Download “Group Rights and Gender Justice: exploring tensions within the Gond community in India”, the III Working Paper from this project.
The Revolt of the Rust Belt
The Communal Roots of Anti-Systemic Politics in the US and the UK
This project aimed to to break apart simplistic explanations of anti-systemic politics - in other words, the politics of those who have grown disillusioned and vote against the current system. The demise of the welfare state and the globalisation of capitalist production chains produce widely varying economic realities based largely on geographic region, so communities in different regions have a different “trajectory of place”. The project explored the communal roots of anti-systemic politics, arguing that it is these trajectories of place, more than individual circumstances, that is fueling the politics of Trump and Brexit. The team’s interest was in explaining the different ways people make sense of their experience of economic and cultural decline. If one thinks of black and white declining communities in the United States, for example, the experience of decline is similar, but the ways in these communities make sense of their situations can be very different.
The Role of Diverging Welfare State Trajectories on Income Inequality in Four Former Yugoslav Republics
This project investigated the relationship between income inequality and different welfare state trajectories in four countries of the former Yugoslavia over the three decades since the breakup of the country. It looked at Slovenia, with one of the lowest income inequalities by Gini coefficient among European countries; Croatia, with an average EU level of inequality; and Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, which have the highest income inequality by Gini coefficient in Europe. In the Yugoslav period, these countries shared a generous and inclusive welfare system based on the principles of solidarity and equality.
After the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the welfare regimes of these four successor states evolved in different directions. The project examined the contribution of different welfare reforms on the divergent levels of income inequality in these four countries. The focus of the research was on the impact of reforms in education systems, labour markets and in tax and benefit policies on the evolution of inequality in the four countries.
University of Cape Town
The Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance at the University of Cape Town is a key partner of the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity programme, assisting with the outreach and recruitment of Fellows, with designing the South Africa module, and hosting key events. In 2018, UCT hosted the III Annual Conference, expanding and enriching the content by inviting the participation of voices from the global South, and worked closely with AFSEE on the 2018 Action for Equity Award.
Action Learning Associates
Action Learning Associates (ALA) helps organisations acquire long lasting problem solving skills, develop fresh ideas, achieve results and develop leadership capability. Through working in action learning sets, Fellows work through issues related to their pursuit of social change, share ideas and challenge perceptions in a trusting, supportive environment. As a partner of the AFSEE programme, ALA offers support with facilitation, action learning, and overall programme design.
Interaction Institute for Social Change
The Interaction Institute for Social Change builds collaborative capacity in individuals, organizations, and networks working for social justice and racial equity. IISC’s trainings provide participants with the opportunity to learn and practice the skills and tools of collaboration so that they can design meetings, build and run organisations and networks with greater social impact. IISC provides Atlantic Fellows with training in Facilitative Leadership for Social Change, which develops practical collaborative skills and tools for tapping the creativity, experience, and commitment of staff and colleagues and provides participants with a forum in which to explore their challenges and aspirations as leaders.
Institute for Policy Studies
The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) is a progressive think tank based in New York, USA, dedicated to building a more equitable, ecologically sustainable and peaceful society. Since 2011, IPS has published inequality-related news and views via its website Inequality.org, offering information and insights for readers ranging from educators and journalists to activists and policy-makers. As a content partner for AFSEE, IPS publishes pieces produced by our Fellows and also provides support to Fellows in developing their communications skills.