This paper is part of a stream of work for the Second Chronic Poverty Report (CPR2) on social change, policy and chronic poverty. It reviews the available literature to attempt to draw lessons on how anti-discrimination policies can help reduce chronic poverty, and what the limits to an anti-discrimination focus are in combating poverty. While it is more directly concerned with these practical questions rather than a theoretical understanding of discrimination, it will be necessary to establish some basic concepts of discrimination and how it is connected with chronic poverty before going on to look at policies in practice.
The brief for this paper is to look at cases where policies have successfully changed discriminatory practices to the benefit of chronically poor people. However, it will not seek to simply find and uncritically champion universal policy models, nor will it pretend that policy or the actions of politicians and policy makers alone are sufficient to achieve social change that will end the chronic poverty of groups suffering discrimination. Unrealistically high expectations are to be guarded against. As the ICHRP says of racial discrimination, “when racial and economic discrimination are associated for a long period of time, disadvantage tends to become entrenched over generations and reform is particularly difficult to achieve”.
Background Paper for the Chronic Poverty Report 2008-09. Chronic Poverty Research Centre, London, UK, 39 pp.