June 14, 2004
At the invitation of Steen Jorgenson, Anis Dani and Rob Chase (World Bank Social Development Department), Francisco Ferreira presented the outline of the report to a gathering of social development specialists representing a number of donor agencies (participants from the UK (DFID), Canada (CIDA), Denmark (DANIDA), Slovakia, Germany, Sweden (SIDA), and others). Participants appreciated taking part in a consultation so early on, and were enthusiastic about the topic. The main comments received were:
Discussion of historical examples of reduction in inequality would be especially useful. Suggestions included European declines in inequality in the 19th Century, where some suspected a downward sloping part of the Kuznets curve might have been observed. Some also suggested contrasting the experience of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (and successor states) with that of the Ottoman Empire (and successor states). The claim was that the former engendered more egalitarian structures.
There was a long discussion as to whether a "rights based framework" to equity would be useful to the report. The possible conflicts with an economic approach was discussed. The fact that the Norwegian government in interested in discussing these issues with us at a conference¬† in the fall, and might be interested in funding work on the topic, was brought up.
Anis Dani (World Bank) mentioned a data set on accountability indicators, that could be used to add to the empirical indicators on agency, the distributions of which matters a great deal for this report, but for which hard data is not so easily available. Participants were keen to help us provide solid empirical support to our claims on that subject.