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Addressing Group Inequalities: Social Policies in Emerging Economies’ Great Transformation


  • Arjan de Haan

    (International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, ON, Canada.)

  • Sukhadeo Thorat

    (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.)


This article compares group inequalities and policies of inclusion in four major emerging economies: Brazil, China, India and South Africa. Bringing together the evidence on inequalities in these large countries is important: they have a large influence on global inequalities, and it is critical to understand the different realities behind summary inequality data, and how countries have defined these social groups. There is much to learn from the way different countries have addressed these challenges of inequalities, and the way these link to the very different political systems, through combinations of economic development projects (China), group empowerment (South Africa) and affirmative action (India, Brazil to a lesser extent). For each of these countries, addressing group inequalities is a critical element of the process of nation-building, and there are costs in terms of justice, as well as economically and politically, if these inequalities are left unaddressed.Cet article compare les inégalités entre groupes sociaux et les politiques d′inclusion mises en œuvre dans quatre pays émergents majeurs : le Brésil, la Chine, l′Inde et l′Afrique du Sud. Rassembler les preuves concernant les inégalités existant dans ces grands pays est important : elles ont une forte influence sur les inégalités mondiales et il est essentiel de comprendre les différentes réalités derrière les données résumées sur les inégalités et comment ces pays ont défini les groupes sociaux. Des leçons importantes peuvent être tirées de la manière dont les différents pays abordent les défis liés aux inégalités, et leur liens avec les différents systèmes politiques, à travers la combinaison de projets de développement économiques (en Chine), d′autonomisation des groupes vulnérables (en Afrique du Sud), de discrimination positive (en Inde et dans une moindre mesure au Brésil). Pour chacun de ces pays, le combat contre les inégalités entre sociaux est un aspect crucial du processus de construction nationale et ne pas prendre en main ce problème a un coût non seulement en termes de justice, mais aussi en termes économiques et politiques.

Suggested Citation

  • Arjan de Haan & Sukhadeo Thorat, 2012. "Addressing Group Inequalities: Social Policies in Emerging Economies’ Great Transformation," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 24(1), pages 105-124, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:eurjdr:v:24:y:2012:i:1:p:105-124

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Shirokova, G. & Puffer, S.M. & Bogatyreva, K. & Beliaeva, T., 2015. "Entrepreneurial orientation in different environmental settings: A comparative cross-country study," Working Papers 6416, Graduate School of Management, St. Petersburg State University.

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