Health and education

The greater poverty of socially excluded groups often translates into poorer levels of health and education, particularly when their poverty is combined with remoteness and lack of infrastructure and social services.

Kabeer, N. (2005). Social Exclusion: Concepts, Findings and Implications for the MDGs (Paper commissioned as background for the Social Exclusion Policy Paper). London: DFID.
What insights does the concept of social exclusion offer the development studies literature? How is it relevant to key Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)? This paper argues that the challenges that social exclusion presents to current policy concerns suggest that the ‘business as usual’ approach to development has been inadequate. Economic theories have focussed on resource-based paradigms of disadvantage, taking the individual or household as the unit of analysis. Sociologists, however, have focussed on forms of disadvantage based on the cultural devaluation of groups or categories of people in society based on who they are perceived to be.
Access full text: available online

Lewin, K. M., Wasanga, P., Wanderi, E., & Somerset, A. (2011). Participation and Performance in Education in Sub-Saharan Africa with Special Reference to Kenya: Improving Policy and Practice. Centre for International Education, Department of Education, University of Sussex.
Using national data sets from sub-Saharan Africa and a detailed country case study from Kenya, this paper explores aspects of exclusion from education and how patterns of participation have been changing. Over-age status is found to be linked with lower examination results and exclusion from the best secondary schools.
Access full text: available online

Lewis, M., & Lockheed, M. (2008). Social Exclusion and the Gender Gap in Education (Policy Research Working Paper No. 4562). Washington, DC: World Bank.
Why is there still a gender gap in education in some countries? This paper reviews gender in education and tests the relevance of ethno-linguistic fractionalisation (ELF) in explaining cross-country differences in learning and school attainment.
Access full text: available online

Mathieson, J., Popay, J., Enoch, E., Escorel, S., Hernandez, M., Johnston, H., & Rispel, L. (2008). Social Exclusion and Health Inequalities. In Social Exclusion: Meaning, Measurement and Experience and Links to Health Inequalities – A Review of Literature (chapter 8). World Health Organisation.
What are the limits of present empirical evidence over the links between health inequality and social exclusion? How does social exclusion contribute to the theories of social inequality in health? This paper examines the theoretical contribution that social exclusion can make to theories of social inequality in health. It is argued that the present focus on a state of social exclusion fails to recognise the crucial causal link to power inequalities across society. It does not take into account the potential for targeted inequality amongst marginalised groups.
Access full text: available online

Cultural exclusion can also result in ambivalence towards education, further entrenching income inequality.

Yi, L. (2005). Muslim Narratives of Schooling, Social Mobility and Cultural Difference: A Case Study in Multi-ethnic Northwest China. Japanese Journal of Political Science, 6(1), 1-28.
What explains the persistent poor educational performance of China’s Muslim minority populations? This paper draws on community level interviews with Muslim communities in the Qinghai-Gansu borderland to analyse the impact of cultural exclusion on ethnic minority educational attitudes and performance. There is a tension between Muslims’ desire for full social citizenship in the form of rights to employment and education and the limited social and cultural capital they possess with which to achieve these goals. The party-state needs a more coherent approach to national identity and minority rights, so as not to exacerbate existing tensions between minorities and the wider society.
Access full text: available online

Cross-country research by the OECD demonstrates that countries with discriminatory social institutions tend to score poorly in the Millennium Development Goals.

OECD. (2010). Gender Inequality and the MDGs: What are the Missing Dimensions? (At Issue Paper). Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
What gender issues are hampering progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals? This paper uses the Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) to examine gender inequality and the MDGs. It focuses on three MDGs: eradicating extreme hunger and poverty (MDG 1), achieving universal primary education (MDG 2) and improving maternal health (MDG 5). ‘Missing dimensions’ to these three MDGs are found to be: women’s control over resources; their access to land and credit; decision-making power and the percentage of early marriages; and violence against women. These dimensions should be more explicitly targeted.
Access full text: available online

Such failure to invest in health and education (termed ‘human capital endowments’) may severely limit societal potential and carry considerable social and economic costs. This is particularly marked with respect to gender difference and exclusion. New research by the World Bank reveals that progress in redressing gender differences in mortality risks and participation in education has been tremendous where the removal of a single barrier is sufficient. However, such progress is not evenly distributed, and gender inequality in these fields remains unacceptably high for some of the most disadvantaged communities.

World Bank (2011). Education and Health: Where Do Gender Differences Really Matter?. In World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality (chapter 3). Washington DC: World Bank.
This study notes that investments in health and education shape the ability of men and women to reach their full potential. It examines gender gaps in education and health, and progress in addressing them. It finds that great progress had been made in cases where removing a single barrier – in markets, households or institutions – is required. However, progress has been slower either where multiple barriers need to be lifted at the same time or where a single point of entry produces bottlenecks.
Access full text: available online