Horizontal Inequalities: A Neglected Dimension of Development

  • Frances Stewart
Part of the Studies in Development Economics and Policy book series (SDEP)


Current thinking about development places individuals firmly at the centre of concern, the basic building block for analysis and policy. This is as true of the innovations led by Amartya Sen, which move us away from a focus purely on incomes to incorporate wider perspectives on well-being, as of the more traditional neoclassical welfare analysis which underpins most development policy. The present overriding concerns with reduced poverty and inequality, which stem from both types of analysis, are equally individual-focused. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), for example, are concerned with the numbers of individuals in poverty in the world as a whole, not with who they are, or where they live. Measures of inequality relate to the ranking of individuals (or households) within a country (or sometimes the globe). The issues of individuals’ poverty and inequality are, of course, extremely important, but they neglect a vital dimension of human well-being and of social stability: that is, the group dimension.


Affirmative Action Political Violence Social Stability Racial Inequality Group Boundary 
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© United Nations University 2005

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  • Frances Stewart

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