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Achieving prosperity for all within planetary boundaries requires that governments take wide-ranging transformative action, but achieving ‘triple-wins’ by joining up policies across economic, social and environmental realms can be challenging. A companion analysis undertaken under the ODI Nexus project () analysed key indicators in these realms in lower income countries and identified the Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka and Thailand as front-runners in achieving more holistic development outcomes. Looking deeper at these case studies, we sought to identify national policy interventions that struck a balance between the different realms of development and explored the policy development, legislation and implementation processes required for integrated transformational policy to succeed.

In each we found national-scale, triple-win policies led from the president’s or prime minister’s office. These policies can usually be traced to specific political moments that forced a reckoning with the failures of previous development policy, often resulting in radical change of direction in development planning. Yet, despite the existence of triple-win policies, as of 2019, there was limited evidence of triple-win outcomes being achieved. Instead, the case study countries typically performed well in one or two realms, often to the detriment of progress in the other(s).

We present potential reasons for the lacklustre impact of these policies and conclude with suggestions for future work to outline where in the policy landscape it may be possible to enact transformational nexus policies and how to support them to achieve their outcomes in the timeframes required to ensure equitable prosperity within planetary boundaries.

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The current design of UK public policy and mainstream political and social discourse has consistently equated paid work with good citizenship and desirable parenting. The article presents findings from a recent qualitative study that explores how lone mothers with different moral rationalities judge themselves before and after making a transition from welfare (and being full-time carers) to paid work. The findings suggest that the design of public policy and related discourses worked well with the moral rationalities of some lone mothers who believed that paid work made them better mothers. However, it left others with moral values on direct care behind, as they suffered from physical and emotional exhaustion and feelings of guilt in paid work. The article highlights how dominant ideologies reinforce the pre-existing hierarchy of paid work and care, with the latter being viewed as deserving of less acknowledgement.

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Scholars of childhood typically view children as agentic; poverty researchers, aware that poverty reduces children’s life-chances, may be tempted to consider them as victims. Adults experiencing poverty report feelings of powerlessness, and, by analogy, poverty may reduce children’s agency. However, comparatively little is known about the impact of poverty on child agency or the extent to which children use their agency to mediate the effects of poverty. Therefore, 55 low-income children from two Chinese schools were invited to participate in group discussions and qualitative interviews spread over several hours. Considering poverty to be multidimensional, children identified that their agency was restricted both by poverty and their status as children but argued that they were not without agency. This was confirmed in interviews with parents and teachers. Six strategies were identified that children use to ameliorate poverty’s effects. The strategies group into three pairs, the first strategy in each pair reflecting a child’s decision to accommodate to their circumstances with the second being an attempt to alter them. The first pair (norm adaptation and active communication) comprised coping strategies addressing the present; the second pair (self-improvement and self-sacrifice) were expressions of constructive agency; and the third pair (lowered expectations and rebellion) were partially acts of despair. Giving greater recognition to children’s attempts to improve the lives of their families and themselves may lead to more effective modes of policy intervention.

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On 6 December 2022, Jakarta passed a controversial law criminalising extramarital sex within Indonesian territories. In this policy article, in response to Indonesia’s recent criminalisation of extramarital sex, the author problematises how such legislation compounds domestic sex workers’ encounters with poverty. Then, the author visits Indonesia’s minimum tolerance of prostitution, arguing how such an impractical policy hinders Jakarta from eradicating the socioeconomic root causes of prostitution. Next, the author suggests policy directions that Jakarta should take into account in order to deconstruct the problems of underprivileged, marginalised and impoverished women and girls entering the sex industry. Here the author emphasises that Indonesia can deny the recognition of prostitutes, but it has to recognise prostitutes as local citizens. Therefore, social protection schemes designated for domestic citizens should be made accessible on a gender-blind basis, regardless of beneficiaries’ socioeconomic backgrounds.

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This article presents a typology to capture varying degrees of inclusive, sustainable economic transformation in low- and middle-income countries. We perform a cluster analysis of these pillars – poverty and inequality, environmental sustainability, and economic transformation – proxied by a set of quantitative indicators with data pooled between 2000 and 2018. This is supported by descriptive analysis of correlations in change over time between indicators as well as an exploration of the contextual risk and governance profiles underpinning these changes. From this analysis, we identify five clusters of countries with a range of outcomes across the three pillars. Countries consistently performing well across the three dimensions are not readily evident, though some countries are able to achieve moderate outcomes. Policy implications point to the need to get the basics right around pro-poor infrastructure development and making certain sectors greener in an effort to advance tripartite gains.

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The Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) model is currently being employed in Uganda for deepening financial inclusion and poverty reduction. Despite its focus on women’s empowerment, concerns have arisen of an under-representation of women on VSLA leadership committees. Human rights-based, economic, and social justice arguments support active participation of women on VSLA leadership committees. The study sought to identify, explicate and characterise the barriers and facilitators to women in VSLA leadership. An exploratory study design using qualitative methods was selected to address the research objectives. Forty-nine focus group discussions were undertaken, featuring both VSLA members and non-members. VSLAs for inclusion in the study were randomly selected from within four regions of Uganda, stratified by: mature (>2 years old) versus new (<2 years old). The study exposed a diverse array of barriers and facilitators to women in VSLA leadership positions, revealing the influence of individual, material, institutional and social factors, in addition to social norms and gender characteristics, on women in VSLA leadership. The findings revealed that the design of interventions to achieve fair representation of women in leadership positions should be informed by an understanding of the different types, relative strengths, support for/against, and intersectionality of the factors impacting women in VSLA leadership.

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Recently, the rise of bottom-up approaches has become significant in realising social justice for vulnerable sections of society. One such attempt is the provision of charge-free legal aid services in many poor countries, including Ethiopia. This article aims to reveal the relevance of micro-justice as an effective remedy for poor people. The data generated from primary sources were analysed in line with rights-based and capability approaches. The findings of this study attested that such bottom-up approaches in access to justice, did not only help the beneficiaries in exercising their rights but also empowered them to lead their lives and determine their destiny.

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This work adopts different approaches to analyse situations of poverty and extreme poverty in Spain during the last decade, considering different monetary thresholds, measures of severe material deprivation and the combination of both. The determining factors of these situations and the patterns that act as a link between extreme poverty and homelessness are also examined. The results of the study show that for the most restrictive thresholds of 10 per cent and 20 per cent of the median equivalised disposable income the smallest variations during the series are observed, confirming that situations of such deep poverty are not influenced by the cycle since they do not respond to economic stimuli. The determinants of extreme poverty suggest that public policies should be target towards high-risk groups, such as single person households, households with children, younger individuals, individuals with a low educational attainment, and of foreign nationality. Finally, an interesting result is that the profile of individuals in situations of consistent poverty have the greatest similarities to the group of people experiencing homelessness.

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The benefit cap and the two-child limit were both introduced with the aim of promoting fairness. However, women are disproportionately affected by both of these polices. This article presents new empirical evidence that demonstrates the gendered impacts of the benefit cap and the two-child limit on mothers. It shows that the benefit cap and the two-child limit ignore the gendered reasons for women’s disproportionate subjection to the policies, devalue unpaid care, fail to recognise gendered barriers to paid work and ultimately, harm women in a wide range of ways, particularly by further entrenching them in poverty.

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