Horizontal Inequalities: Explaining Persistence and Change

  • Frances Stewart
  • Arnim Langer
Part of the Conflict, Inequality and Ethnicity book series (CoIE)


In many cases horizontal inequalities persist over long periods. For example, black/white differentials in the US, or indigenous/Ladino differentials in Latin America have been in existence for centuries. Other examples include the northern peoples in Ghana and blacks in South Africa. In contrast, some immigrant groups who were initially poor relative to the national average soon achieved above-average incomes. Where horizontal inequalities (HIs) persist they are particularly deleterious as they trap people, generation after generation, in a situation of deprivation. These conditions may also give rise to greater social instability. Consequently, this chapter is devoted to understanding the determinants of socioeconomic HIs over time, why they are so persistent in some cases but prove temporary in others.


Social Capital Human Capital Affirmative Action Financial Capital Racial Inequality 
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Copyright information

© Frances Stewart and Arnim Langer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frances Stewart
  • Arnim Langer

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