Inequality and Governance (Book in progress, under contract with Routledge).

 

Governance matters for social welfare. Better governed countries are richer, happier, and have fewer social and environment problems. Good government means that public officials are democratically accountable, corruption is kept in check, the rule of law prevails and the public administration is relatively efficient in carrying out the tasks entrusted to it by the political decision-making process. A range of economic, political and cultural variables have been proposed by scholars who have explored the determinants of good governance. One potentially crucial factor is income inequality. Interpersonal, inter-ethnic and territorial income inequalities have be linked to political disenfranchisement and instability, more corruption, weaker rule of law and under-performing bureaucracies. The direction of causality flows both ways. Inequalities tend to persist in countries with poorer governance setting in train a vicious cycle. This book explains the two-way relationship between inequality and governance. It starts by clearly defining both concepts and presenting and relating those indicators typically used by scholars to measure each of them. The monograph then reviews work that has considered inequalities and societal organization from both a historical and contemporary perspective. Moreover, it explores how people behave in the face of inequalities in experimental settings and considers how inequality and governance interact with the hierarchical-egalitarian cultural dimension. The book ends with a summary of the main insights gained, a review of the policy prescriptions that emerge from the analysis and proposals for future research aimed at broadening our understanding of the crucial relationship between social inequality and government quality.