July 21, 2008: Advisory--New Report on Global Inequality Will Be Presented on Capitol Hill

For Immediate Release


NEW REPORT—The Persistent Problem: Inequality, Difference, and the Challenge of Development 

What:      Inequality and difference pose relentless challenges even though conditions for alleviating deprivation are more favorable than ever before.  The persistent problem of inequality is that it enables dominant actors to create institutions and policies that favor their interests even when they are not in the best interests of society as a whole.  At the international level, this has resulted in a pattern of globalization that limits the potential benefits of international markets to the poorest countries. At the domestic level in poor countries, inequality has enabled elites to perpetuate inefficient institutions at a time when globalization gives a premium for efficient ones. The new report by the Task Force on Difference, Inequality, and Developing Societies of the American Political Science Association highlights how these problems threatens efforts to alleviate deprivation such as the Millennium Development Goals. It shows that in an increasingly interdependent world, international institutions should be made more accountable to poor countries if they are to maintain their legitimacy and effectiveness. For democracy and capitalism to fulfill their promise of ending deprivation in developing countries, they must be based on institutions that reflect their distinctive histories and cultures. Deepening democratic processes in developing countries is essential for establishing political and economic institutions to equitably reflect local experiences.

The APSA will host a discussion on the report’s findings and implications for policy makers in developing and developed countries.  

When:   Thursday, July 24, 2008, 12:00 to 2:00 p.m.

Where:  U.S. Capitol Building, Room HC-7

RSVP:  Lindsey Rosenthal, [email protected] by 12 noon on Wednesday, July 23. Space is limited. A light lunch will be served.


  • John Echeverri-Gent is the chair of the American Political Science Task Force on Difference, Inequality, and Developing Societies and Associate Professor at the University of Virginia’s Department of Politics. His published works include The State and the Poor: Public Policy and Political Development in India and the United States (1993) and Economic Reform in Three Giants: U.S. Foreign Policy and the USSR, China, and India (co-edited, 1990) and numerous articles on the political economy of development and comparative public policy. His current research investigates the political construction of capital markets in developing countries. 
  • Carol Lancaster is Director of the Mortara Center for International Studies at Georgetown University.  She was the Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (1993-1996) and has worked at the U.S. State Department (Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, 1980-81; Policy Planning Staff, 1977-80). She has also been a Congressional Fellow and worked for the Office of Management and Budget. Her most recent books are Aid to Africa and Transforming Foreign Aid. Her current research focuses on foreign aid, development and democracy in Africa, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) as political organizations.
  • John Williamson is a Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Dr. Williamson was project director for the UN High-Level Panel on Financing for Development (the Zedillo Report) in 2001; chief economist for South Asia at the World Bank during 1996–99; and has taught economics in Brazil, the UK, US, and Canada. He has advised the International Monetary Fund (1972–74) and served as an economic consultant for the UK Treasury (1968–70). He has published numerous studies on international monetary and development issues, most recently including Reference Rates and the International Monetary SystemCurbing the Boom-Bust Cycle (2005), and Dollar Adjustment: How Far? Against What? (2004).
  • Philip Keefer is Lead Research Economist at the Development Research Group of the World Bank.  Dr. Keefer has worked continuously on the interaction of institutions, political economy and economic development. His research has included investigations of the impact of insecure property rights on economic growth; the effect of political credibility on the policy choices of governments; and the sources of political credibility in democracies and autocracies. It has appeared in journals that span economics and political science and has been influenced by his work in a wide range of countries, including Bangladesh, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, México, Perú, Pakistan and the Philippines

The Task Force on Difference, Inequality, and Developing Societies was convened by Susanne Rudolph (University of Chicago) during her term as APSA president and is part of APSA’s effort to promote the public presence of the discipline.  It is comprised of 13 prominent political scientists and conducted its research from 2004-2007. Other forthcoming task force reports include ones on Political Violence and Terror (2008) and Religion and Democracy in the United States (2009).

The American Political Science Association (est. 1903) is the leading professional organization for the study of politics and has over 14,000 members in 80 countries. For more news and information about political science research visit the APSA media website, www.politicalsciencenews.org.

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