Programme and presentations: The Politics of Inequality - DLP Annual Conference 2015

See resources from the DLP Annual Conference 2015, which took place on 12 February at the University of Birmingham.

Inequality has recently been rediscovered by academics and policymakers, from Palma to Piketty, from Obama to the post-2015 High Level Panel. But the scope of much of the debate is narrow. Wealth and income draw most of the attention. Other inequalities – based on gender, ethnicity or geography, for example – tend to be overlooked. Questions are asked about inequalities between individuals, but less often about why entire groups fare less well than others. And what of the political, social and economic processes that lie behind inequalities?

How does politics create or maintain inequalities, and which inequalities, and why? Who are the actors, what are the social structures involved? How do power, norms and ideas sustain inequalities? What is the role of leadership in perpetuating or alleviating inequalities? The conference considered the politics of inequality – and the inequality of politics. 

David Hudson provides a discussion starter: 'Inequality – the politics behind the policies'.

Adrian Leftwich Memorial Lecture 2015: ‘Inequality, Justice and Policy'

Frances Stewart (Emeritus Professor of Development Economics, University of Oxford)

Against a background of high and rising inequality, what might a just distribution be? This keynote presentation also considered instrumental considerations, notably the impact of alternative distributions on efficiency, sustainability and conflict. View slides (PDF, 350 KB).


Clips from this presentation


Session 2: The Politics of Redistribution

Chair: Caryn Peiffer (Research Fellow, DLP, University of Birmingham)

More History, Less Maths: Understanding Development

Duncan Green (Senior Strategic Adviser, Oxfam GB)

Duncan Green summarises his talk and future plans for the politics of redistribution research project in a blog post (FP2P).


Clips from this presentation


The Politics of Redistribution: The Case of Brazil

Siân Herbert (Research Fellow, GSDRC, University of Birmingham)

View PDF of slides (1.3 MB) or use slideshare below.


A Framework for Understanding the Politics of Redistribution

Niheer Dasandi (Research Fellow, DLP, UCL)

View PDF of slides (800 KB) or use slideshare below.


Q&A on the Politics of Redistribution


Session 3: Politics, Inequality, and Conflict

Chair: Gillian Fletcher (Research Fellow, DLP, La Trobe University)

Session 4: Inequality and Political Settlements

Chair: Tait Brimacombe (Research Fellow, DLP, La Trobe University)

Session 5: Roundtable: Propositions on the Politics of Inequality

Within a light-hearted 'contest'-style format, panellists raised important ideas as they set out some key challenges of inequality and ways of tackling it. See clips from this session below, and David Hudson's blog post reflecting on the panel discussion.

  • Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva (Head of Research, Oxfam GB)
  • Paul Healey (Head of Profession, Social Development, DFID)
  • Samuel Hickey (Professor of Politics and Development and Joint Director of Research, Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre, University of Manchester)
  • Carole Rakodi (Emeritus Professor, University of Birmingham)
  • Mariz Tadros (Research Fellow, IDS)

Chair: Chris Roche (Senior Research Partner, DLP, La Trobe University)



Session 6: Final Reflections on Inequality, Politics and Governance

Alina Rocha Menocal (Senior Research Fellow, DLP, University of Birmingham)

Chair: Heather Marquette (Director, DLP, University of Birmingham)

See Alina Rocha Menocal's DLP blog post for her reflections on the day: 'When the stars align to tackle inequality'


See also #polinequality on Twitter for a flavour of the event.


About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

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