Inequalities and Social Cohesion

13th AFD International Conference on Development
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Favela Rocinha
when ? where ?
From Thursday 06 December 2018 to Friday 07 December 2018
Paris: AFD - Le Mistral & Institut du monde arabe
On December 6th and 7th, 2018, the 13th International Conference of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) was held in Paris . For this new edition, AFD decided to focus on Inequalities and Social Cohesion, after having discussed other relevant development issues such as Energy in 2014 and Commons in 2016.
  • Summary of the debates
  • About the conference
  • Plenary Conference 7/12
  • Scientific Day 6/12
  • Videos

On December 6th and 7th of 2018, the 13th International AFD Conference - Inequalities and Social Cohesion was held in Paris. It aimed to bring together specialists on the issues of inequality and social cohesion, and take the discussion to the policymakers and the civil society.

The conference took place over two days. The first one was an academic day with parallel sessions. The second one was dedicated to high-level plenary debates open to a wide public. The document which has been produced is an analytical summary of these debates that carried discussions around five themes:

  • Discussing the relation between growth and inequalities;
  • Understanding how inequality and social cohesion change the way we view development;
  • Analyzing the impact of the emergence of the middle classes on inequalities and social cohesion;
  • Explaining how social cohesion is shaped by perceived inequalities;
  • Supporting the reduction of inequality and promoting social cohesion.

Practitioners and researchers from a variety of disciplines, institutions and geographies were present, such as Gaël Giraud, Jean Pierre Marcelli and Thomas Melonio (AFD); Branko Milanovic (LIS); Alicia Barcena (ECLAC); Shanta Devarajan (World Bank Group); Frances Stewart (University of Oxford); Alice Evans (London School of Economics) and François Bourguignon (PSE). 

This analytical summary allows the public to dive into those interesting discussions and better understand the conclusions derived from these vivid dialogues.

Download the summary of the debates

Inequality and Social Cohesion


Under the High Patronage of
Mr Emmanuel MACRON
President of the French Republic


Between 2000 and 2015, extreme poverty was reduced in half. At the same time, inequalities have increased throughout the world, weakening the political, social and economic balances of the most concerned countries.

How can we explain this situation? Have development projects helped to reduce, stabilize or increase inequalities? What should donors do in order to take effective action to fight inequalities? How do such processes influence social cohesion?

For AFD, the reduction of inequality is closely linked to the poverty reduction and to the development model implemented by the partner countries. And in order to achieve so, AFD has decided to make social cohesion one of its strategic goals, for understanding it as the basis of the reduction of extreme inequality.



The “Inequalities and Social Cohesion” conference had as ambition to bring together practitioners and researchers around these issues, and take this debate to the civil society.

The conference took place in Paris over two days.

The first one, Thursday, December 6th, was a scientific day with parallel sessions, at AFD.
The second one, December 7th, was dedicated to high-level plenary debates open to a wide public and it was held at the Institut du Monde Arabe. On this day, international experts, academics and policy makers addressed the following issues:

Besides the great quality of the presentations and debates, this conference enabled participants to establish lasting partnerships on the theme of inequality. Its originality lied in the dialogue between practitioners and researchers from a variety of disciplines around the universal subject that the inequalities represent.

Media Partners


Friday 7th December 2018

Programme 061218





This conference brought together internationally recognized researchers, representatives of institutions and civil society. 

Nizar BarakaNizar Baraka
Alicia BarcenaAlicia Barcena
François BourguignonFrançois Bourguignon
François BourguignonSylvain Bourmeau
Clea ChakravertyClea Chakraverty
Lucas ChancelLucas Chancel
Lucas ChancelChristian Chavagneux
Shanta DevarajanShanta Devarajan
Farida El KalagyFarida El Kalagy
Alice EvansAlice Evans
Alice EvansGaspar Frontini
James GalbraithJames Galbraith
Gael GirausGaël Giraud
Michel HoudebineMichel Houdebine
Murray LeibbrandtMurray Leibbrandt
Stefano ManservisiStefano Manservisi
Jean Pierre MarcelliJean Pierre Marcelli
Thomas MelonioThomas Melonio
Branko MilanovicBranko Milanovic
Didier PourqueryDidier Pourquery
Martin RavallionRémy Rioux
Frances StewartFrances Stewart

Download the programme and speakers' biographies



The 6th of December was dedicated to a scientific day for which we have received papers investigating the issue of inequality and social cohesion in developing and emerging countries.

Key topics included:

  • Fiscal redistribution
  • Sustainability
  • The link between social inclusion, social cohesion and economic inequality

You will find below the sessions filmed during this day:


Download the programme






Thusday 6 décember | 9:15-12:00

  • Plenary Session
    Chair: Vincent Caupin (AFD)

The Interplay between Women's Earnings and Household Income: A Cross-National Analysis of High- and Middle-Income Countries, Janet Gornick (LIS)

Market Income Inequality, Political Alignment, and Redistribution in Latin America, Branko Milanovic (LIS)


  • Special Session: Middle classes and public policy
    Chair: Anda David

Anatomy of the Brazilian middle class: identification, behaviour and expectations, Matthieu Clément (GREThA)



What the Ivorian middle class looks like today? Historical continuities and renewed challenges of an heterogeneous social group, Jean-Philippe Berrou (LAM)



"Should we call it middle class?" Economic and political stakes of the middle income group expansion in Vietnam, Eric Rougier (GREThA)



  • Parallel Session 1.1: Global issues
    Chair: Etienne Espagne

Connective Financing: Chinese Infrastructure Projects and the Diffusion of Economic Activity in Developing Countries, Richard Bluhm (Leibniz University Hannover)
Discussant: Rocco Zizzamia


Uncovering Africa's Inequality Problem: growth, poverty and inequality in the last two decades, Rocco Zizzamia (UCT)
Discussant: Etienne Espagne


Impacts of Weather Shocks on Income and Inequality in Vietnam, Etienne Espagne (AFD)
Discussant: Richard Bluhm



  • Parallel Session 1.2: Measuring and analyzing inequality
    Chair: Claire Zanuso

Estimating intergenerational income mobility on two samples: sensitivity to model selection, Patrizio Piraino (UCT)
Discussant: Miguel Niño-Zarazúa


Global inequality: how large is the effect of top incomes?, Miguel Niño-Zarazúa (UNU-WIDER)
Discussant: Melvin Wong


Neighborhood disputes? Spatial inequalities and civil conflict in Africa, Melvin Wong (Leibniz University Hannover)
Discussant: Patrizio Piraino


  • Parallel Session 1.3: Gender and economic inequality
    Chair: Mathias Kuepié

Effects on Higher Spousal Earnings on Women's Social Empowerment in Ghana, Monica Lambon-Quayefio (University of Ghana)
Discussant: Racha Ramadan


Are Egyptian Women better off than their Male Counterparts?, Racha Ramadan (Cairo University)
Discussant: Athamneh Abdel Baset


Gender Differences in Unemployment and Poverty in Four Palestinian Refugee Camps in Jordan, Abdel Baset Athamneh (Yarmouk University)
Discussant: Monica Lambon-Quayefio


Tueday 6 december | 12:30-13:30

  • Special Session: Social mobility and social stratification
    Chair: Rohen d'Aiglepierre

Skin Color and Social Mobility: Evidence from Mexico, Raymundo Campos Vazquez (COLMEX)


A poverty dynamics approach to social stratification: The South African case, Simone Schotte (GIGA)


Layers of inequality: Social mobility, inequality of opportunity and skin colour in Mexico, Roberto Velez (CEEY)


  • Parallel Session 2.1: Perceptions
    Chair: Ceclia Poggi

The anatomy of poverty perceptions in Morocco: what is the role of local comparisons and intra-household inequalities?, Raphaël Cottin (DIAL)
Discussant: Damir Esenaliev


Does the Enhanced Implementation of a World Bank Community Driven Development Program Impact Social Cohesion in Kyrgyzstan?, Damir Esenaliev (SIPRI)
Discussant: Reena Badiani-Magnusson


Inequality Perceptions in Vietnam, Reena Badiani-Magnusson (World Bank)
Discussant: Raphaël Cottin



  • Parallel Session 2.2: Public policies
    Chair: Kenneth houngbedji

People, Policy and Polarization - UK Income Inequality in the 1980s: A Socio-economic and Political Perspective using Synthetic Control Method, Nishant Yonzan (CUNY)
Discussant: Yajna Govind


Post-colonial Trends of Income Inequality in the Oversears Departments of France, Yajna Govind (PSE)
Discussant: Danielle Checchi


Vertical and horizontal redistribution: the case of Western and Eastern Europe, Ivan Torre (World Bank)
Discussant: Nishant Yonzan



  • Parallel Session 2.3: A political view of inequality
    Chair: Stéphanie Leyronas

A News Equality: From development, to politics, and back again - lessons across the North-South divide, Simon Reid-Henry (University of London)
Discussant: Alice Evans


Politicization of inequality, Alice Evans (King’s College London)
Discussant: Juan Manuel Arbona


Spatial inequalities and differentiated citizenship in the "urbanization of water", Juan Manuel Arbona (CIDES-UMSA)
Discussant: Simon Reid-Henry



Tueday 6 december | 14:30-16:15

  • Special Session
    Chair: Françoise Millecam (EC)

The EU approach to fighting inequality in partner countries, Gaspar Frontini (EC)

  • Plenary Session

Tackling inequality in developing countries, Martin Ravallion (U. Georgetown)

  • Plenary Session
    Chair: Hélène Djoufelkit (AFD)

The macrodynamics of household debt, growth, and inequality, Gaël Giraud (AFD)




Tueday 6 december | 16:30-18:30

  • Special Session: Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa
    Chair: Françoise Millecam (EC)

Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa, Giovanni Cornia (University of Florence)


We forgot the middle class! Inequality underestimation in a changing Sub-Saharan Africa, Vasco Molini (World Bank)


Where to from here on the African inequality agenda, Murray Leibbrandt (UCT), Vimal Ranchhod (UCT)


  • Parallel Session 3.1: Decomposing inequality
    Chair: Oskar Lecuyer

Global inequality in length of life: 1950-2015, Miguel Niño-Zarazúa (UNU-WIDER)
Discussant: Vladimir Hlasny


Decomposition of Income Gaps across Socioeconomic Groups: The Case of Six Asian Countries, Vladimir Hlasny (Ewha Womans University)
Discussant: Carlos Gradin


Quantifying the contribution of a subpopulation to inequality - An application to Mozambique, Carlos Gradin (UNU-WIDER)
Discussant: Eirini Andriopoulou


Inequality and Poverty in Greece: Changes in Times of Crisis, Eirini Andriopoulou (Athens University of Economics and Business)
Discussant: Miguel Niño-Zarazúa



  • Parallel Session 3.2: Political choice
    Chair: Hélène Erhart

Economic Insecurity and the Rise of the Right, Conchita d'Ambrosio (University of Luxemburg)
Discussant: Mario Negre

Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Geographic Targeting of World Bank Projects to the Bottom 40 Percent, Mario Negre (DIE)
Discussant: Siyavash Eslami

Multiple Dimension Inequality and Individual Tax Decision: The Case of Sub-Saharan Africa, Siyavash Eslami (DIAL)
Discussant: Conchita D’Ambrosio


Perceptions, reality, and demand for redistribution, Ivan Torre (World Bank)
Discussant: Hélène Ehrhart



  • Parallel Session 3.3: Inequality and social cohesion (session in French)
    Chair: Gaëlle Balineau

Les inégalités d’accès au marché du travail au Cameroun : Le rôle de l’école, Mbenga Bindop Kunz Modeste (Université de Yaoundé II)
Discussant: Alioune Ndiaye


Repenser les liens entre inégalités et pastoralisme au Sahel à travers une décomposition des revenus : application au Ferlo, Alioune Ndiaye (CIRAD)
Discussant: Gaëlle Balineau

Diagnostic et déterminants de l’inégalité des revenus au Cameroun durant les années 1990 et 2010, Samuel Fambon (Université de Yaoundé II)
Discussant: Mathias Kuepié






    Opening Ceremony | Introductive Debate | Panel 1


    Panel 2 : Middle Classes

    Panel 3 : Perceived Inequalities


    Panel 4 : Public Policies | Closing Ceremony


    Scientific Day 

    The 6th of December was dedicated to a scientific day for which we have received papers investigating the issue of inequality and social cohesion in developing and emerging countries.

    You will find below the sessions filmed during this day:

    See all the Conference's videos by following this link.


    when ?
    From Thursday 06 December 2018 to Friday 07 December 2018
    where ?
    Paris: AFD - Le Mistral & Institut du monde arabe

    Location of the event

    Institut du Monde Arabe
    1 Rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard
    Le Mistral - AFD
    3 Place Louis-Armand

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