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Groups, location and wellbeing: Social and spatial determinants of inequality in Madagascar.

Wietzke, Frank-Borge (2010) Groups, location and wellbeing: Social and spatial determinants of inequality in Madagascar. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis studies non-monetary dimensions of wellbeing inequality in Madagascar from a geographic and group perspective (see Kanbur 2006, Stewart 2002, Barrett et al. 2005). The work opens with an introductory review of the growing importance of spatial and group-level information for the design of poverty alleviation policies. Chapter 2 presents a case study of historical inequalities in human capital accumulation among Christians and non-Christians in Madagascar. Detailed contextual and econometric evidence suggests that lower educational outcomes among non-Christians today originate in an uneven geographic distribution of Christian missionary schools over much of the 19th Century. Because spatial inequalities in school provision created at the time cut across contemporary religious divides, educational policies in favour of the non-Christian population will need to be accompanied by considerable investments in the public school network. The second, more conceptual part of the thesis explores practical and analytical applications of the proposed group and geographic perspective in the context of the literature on programme targeting and wellbeing analysis. The first chapter in this section presents an asset index that allows for two-dimensional comparisons of interpersonal and spatial inequalities in the areas of public service provision and private wealth. In the context of Madagascar, this method suggests considerable reversals in geographic targeting priorities when compared to existing studies that rely on household consumption as the sole indicator of wellbeing. The next chapter draws on group-level information to operationalize Amartya Sen's capability approach. While it is usually impossible to directly observe a person's capability set (the range of valuable outcomes an individual can theoretically achieve), this paper argues that an indication of the extent of capability inequality can be obtained by observing differences in wellbeing outcomes across relevant groups or areas (see Roemer 1998). Applied to the analysis of interreligious and urban-rural inequalities in Madagascar, this method uncovers significant and persistent differences in wellbeing opportunity in a range of non-monetary dimensions. The last chapter concludes and identifies possible directions for future research within the proposed group-based approach.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sociology, Public and Social Welfare, African Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > International Development

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