Tackling Inequalities in Brazil, China, India and South Africa - The Role of Labour Market and Social Policies


Release on 10 November 2010:


This book (free .pdf) focuses on the role of growth and employment/unemployment developments in explaining recent income inequality trends in Brazil, China, India and South Africa, and discusses the roles played by labour market and social policies in both shaping and addressing these inequalities. It includes the papers presented at the joint OECD and European Union High-Level Conference on Inequalities in Emerging Economies held in Paris in May 2010. This work is part of OECD’s ongoing dialogue and co-operation with non-member economies around the world.

See also:

- a 4-page briefing note "Tackling Inequalities in Brazil, China, India and South Africa"

- summary data and tables from the OECD-EU labour market and social policy database on emerging economies:
     o  original .xls data file from 2010
     o  updated .xlsx data file from December 2014


OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs and the European Commission 

Joint International Conference on 19th May 2010


Inequalities in Emerging Economies: What Role for Labour Market and Social Policies?



The purpose of the Conference was to discuss the main findings and policy recommendations of the OECD’s report on “Growth, Labour market Developments and Income Inequality Trends in BrazilChinaIndia and South Africa: What role for Labour Market and Social Policies?”, the results of which will be published in mid-2010.


Structure of the Conference

The core of the Conference’s discussions centred on the role played by both labour market institutions and policies and social policies in shaping these trends, as well as the different interventions from these two policy layers to improve income redistribution. Some lessons can be learned from the measures taken by each government to alleviate poverty, tackle income inequality and promote more inclusive societies for future generations. Although this is even more pressing in periods of economic uncertainty and external shocks -as the one derived from the current economic downturn- it is the long-term perspective towards inclusive and sustainable development that needs to be privileged.


Key discussion points included:

  • Links between labour market outcomes and inequality.
  • What role for labour market institutions?
  • What role for social policies?

Further Information


Programme and Agenda

Practical Information

List of participants





Introduction and opening remarks

Mr. John Martin, Director, OECD Employment, Labour and Social Affairs [opening remarks]

Ms. Lenia Samuel,  Deputy Director General of DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities



Economic Growth and Inequality in EECs: an Overview


Chair: Mr. Armando Barrientos, Brooks World Poverty Institute, University of Manchester
Key trends in growth, labour market outcomes and inequality in Brazil, China, India and South Africa by Mr. Michael Förster, OECD Social Policy Division [presentation]

DiscussantMs. Nora Lustig, Samuel Z. Stone Professor of Latin American Economics, Tulane University [presentation]
Short country statements:
• Brazil by Mr. Marcelo Cortes Neri, Fundacao Getulio Vargas

• China by Mr. Du Yang, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences [presentation]
• India by Mr. Dipak Mazumdar,  University of Toronto and Institute for Indian Development

• South Africa by Mr. Murray Leibbrandt, University of Cape Town [presentation]
Questions and Answers



Reducing Inequality Through Better Jobs and Skills Upgrading


Chair:  Mr. Michael Morass, European Commission DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities
Skills for a better job matching: the role of education and training, by Mr. Rolph van der Hoeven, International Institute of Social Studies [presentation]
- The case of Brazil by Mr. Marcelo Cortes Neri, Fundacao Getulio Vargas [presentation]
Achieving inclusive growth: policy challenges for emerging economies, by Mrs. Ana Revenga, Director of the Poverty Reduction and Equity Group, World Bank [presentation]
- The case of India, Mr. Dipak Mazumdar, University of Toronto and Institute for Indian Development[presentation]
Questions and answers



Improving Income Support and Redistribution


Chair: Ms. Monika Queisser, Head of the OECD Social Policy Division

Targeting low-income households: lessons from conditional and unconditional cash transfer programmes, Mr. Ian Walker, World Bank [presentation]
- The Case of South Africa, Mr. Murray Leibbrandt, University of Cape Town [presentation]
Extending the coverage of social protection: the role of social insurance and social pensions, Ms. Luciana Jaccoud, Social Security Department, IPEA, Brazil [presentation]
- The Case of China, Mr. Du Yang, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences [presentation]
Questions and answers

16:30- 18:00 


Round table: Policy challenges for the future


Chair: Mr. Aart de Geus, Deputy Secretary-General, OECD
Country challenges
- Ms. Teresa Cristina Cotta, Deputy National Secretary of Citizenship Income, at the Ministry of Social Development and Fight against Hunger [presentation]
- Mr. Huabo Hang, Chinese Mission to the European Union [presentation]
Comments from TUAC, BIAC and ILO
Mr. Noriyuki Suzuki, General Secretary of the Asia Pacific Region of the ITUC
- Ms. Sandrine Cazes, Head Employment Analysis and Research Unit of the International Labour Organisation
Concluding remarks

Mr. Michael Morass, European Commission DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities

Mr. Stefano Scarpetta, Head of the OECD Employment Analysis Policy Division


Related Documents




Permanent URL: www.oecd.org/els/social/inequality/emergingeconomies


Image © Don Farrall/Photodisc/Getty Images




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