The Dynamics of Horizontal Inequalities

By Frances Stewart

Horizontal inequalities, or inequalities among identity groups, tend to be very persistent. Yet much depends on the nature of the groups and on the dimensions of inequality. Horizontal inequalities across some groups may enlarge and others may diminish; equally there can be reductions in some dimensions, yet widening or persistence in others. This paper explores what lies behind these changes, and, in particular, the role of policy in generating change, drawing on historical examples. Finally, it considers possible future changes in the context of geo-political shifts, technology change, the growing power of global corporations, migration, climate change and identity politics.