Social and Solidarity Economy; 3 New Policy Briefs (Inequality; Gender; & Korea's Development Experience); and More: Issue 11 October 2012
UNRISD is an autonomous institution within the UN system that carries out multidisciplinary research on the social dimensions of contemporary development issues.


UNRISD last week launched a Call for Papers as part of a new inquiry, Potential and Limits of Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE). Researchers are invited to submit proposals for papers that critically examine the scope for expanding SSE, and its potential and limits as a distinctive approach to development. Selected papers will be presented at an international symposium to be held at the United Nations in Geneva in May 2013. To read the full Call for Papers and more information on how to submit a proposal, please visit

This new inquiry, Potential and Limits of Social and Solidarity Economy, builds on recent UNRISD projects on Green Economy and Sustainable Development, Markets, Business and Regulation and Civil Society and Social Movements, and forms part of the broader UNRISD research agenda that seeks to explore social development alternatives and contribute to the shaping of a post-2015 development agenda.

SSE refers to forms of production and exchange that aim to satisfy human needs, build resilience and expand human capabilities through social relations based on varying degrees of cooperation, association and solidarity. Other prominent features of SSE are democratic/participatory decision making, social and environmental justice, social cohesion and non-violence. For more information on the project, see or read the Project Brief below.

At a related event, Peter Utting, Deputy Director, spoke last week at a side event at the UN Human Rights Council's 2012 Social Forum, jointly organized by UNRISD and UN-NGLS (see below).


Policy Briefs

Inequalities and the Post-2015 Development Agenda
Income inequalities between and within countries have worsened in recent decades. Gender inequalities are narrowing at a snail’s pace. Citizenship and location continue to determine life chances, despite the increasing integration of economies. Policy instruments to promote equality of outcome have largely been neglected in the name of approaches to claim to create equality of opportunity. This has failed to stem the tide of inequality. Current social discontent and distrust of government highlight the urgency of addressing inequality head-on: it should be high on the post-2015 development agenda, both as a goal in itself and reflected in targets for other goals.

Economic and Social Development in the Republic of Korea: Processes, Institutions and Actors
How did this country rise, like a phoenix from the ashes and destruction of the Korean War, to become the "miracle of the Han" within such a relatively short period of time? What insights and policy lessons can be drawn from the Korean experience for countries facing development challenges in the early twenty-first century? This brief highlights findings and policy lessons from a joint research project carried out by UNRISD and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Making International Development Cooperation Effective: Lessons from the Republic of Korea.

Gendered Impacts of Globalization: Employment and Social Protection
Globalization has led to increases in female labour force participation, reducing the gap between women’s and men’s labour force participation rates. However this increase has not necessarily translated into gender equality in pay and status, as women’s entrance in the labour force has often been on unfavourable terms. This brief draws on a review of existing literature conducted by UNRISD in 2012.

Project Briefs

Potential and Limits of Social and Solidarity Economy
Multiple global crises and heightened concerns about the social, environmental and developmental consequences of market- and corporate-led development have reignited interest in "alternative" production and consumption patterns, and ways of organizing enterprise activities. This new UNRISD inquiry seeks to explore the potential and limits of social and solidarity economy (SSE) as a distinctive approach to development and for promoting gender equality, decent work and food and livelihood security.


Gender Patterns and Value of Unpaid Work: Findings from China’s First Large-Scale Time Use Survey
Xiao-yuan Dong, Xinli An This paper uses data from China’s first large-scale time use survey (2008) to document the gender patterns of time allocation over three activities: paid work, unpaid work and non-work activity (self-care and leisure). The analysis reveals the tension between paid and unpaid work in China’s new market economy. While both are essential to national well-being, the overriding concern of the Chinese government in the post-reform period has been to improve the productivity of paid work and maximize growth of per capita GDP, assuming that the provision of domestic and care services will adjust itself accordingly. Consequently, market reforms have severely eroded the support and protection of both the government and employers for women’s reproductive roles, exacerbating the work-family conflicts that Chinese women face.


Social Policies in Samoa: Social Policies in Small States Series, No. 6
Desmond U. Amosa This book discusses in depth the fundamentals that have enabled the country to uplift the quality of its society since independence: the welfare state; social cohesion; participative democracy; and the rule of law. Of the four, the welfare state and social cohesion have proved to be the most significant building blocks for the country’s steady social progress, as well as its growing post-crisis resilience. Published with the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Social Policies in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu: Social Policies in Small States Series, No. 7
Biman Chand Prasad and Paul Kausimae This book traces the development of social policies in two underdeveloped South Pacific countries, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, and describes the nature of these policies. It discusses the countries’ development strategies and how these have been affected by external pressures and challenges. Published with the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Growth, Inequality and Social Development in India: Is Inclusive Growth Possible?
R. Nagaraj (ed.) This book critically examines economic development, social justice and the political economy of development in post-independence India. It offers a detailed and empirically rich study of India's record of macroeconomic growth during the last six decades. Chapters address a range of issues, including income distribution, poverty reduction, social development and social protection. Published with Palgrave.

Global Justice Activism and Policy Reform in Europe: Understanding When Change Happens
Peter Utting, Mario Pianta, Anne Ellersiek (eds.) Civil society activism around issues of global justice has proliferated in Europe during the past two decades. Has such contestation and advocacy made a difference? This book examines whether and how the organizations, networks and campaigns involved have attained their policy objectives in the areas of debt relief, international trade, international taxation and corporate accountability. The analysis also considers the relationship between national and transnational activism. By comparing variations in the "activism-policy nexus" in France, Italy and the United Kingdom, it seeks to understand how such interaction and policy outcomes vary in different institutional and political contexts. Published with Routledge.

Veinticinco Años de Cuidados en Nicaragua: Poco Estado, Poco Mercado, Mucho Trabajo No Renumerado
Juliana Martinez Franzoni and Koen Voorend with Isolda Espinosa, Carmen Largaespada-Fredersdorff, Karime Ulloa This book analyses care in Nicaragua and shows how it evolved, parallel to the profound economic, social and political transformations that the country went through during the last 25 years. In Spanish. Published with UNDP and Centro de Investigación y Estudios Políticos.

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As of June this year, users are no longer required to log in to download publications available free of charge from our website. Our rich collection of resources is now even easier to access. Users can still use the myUNRISD service to manage email preferences and save documents.


Feminization of Agriculture in a Neoliberal India: Interview with Supriya Garikipati

"[The] model of an empowered woman, who gets the loan, invests it and improves herself and her family’s condition is seriously flawed....The main problem with the model of the empowered that women are unable to use their loans to improve their own incomes. In most cases women's loans get diverted into household usage. ...[M]icrocredit without training and awareness building achieves very little in terms of women’s empowerment." UNRISD interviews Supriya Garikipati, a development economist, on her work on microcredit.

Revisiting the Role of Women in Zimbabwe's Agrarian Structure in the Aftermath of the Fast Track Land Reform Programme: Interview with Patience Mutopo

"Women have entered into networks that help with farming activities, the selling of crops and the formation of new relationships in the new communities in which they’ve settled. This has helped in crafting new farming methods and pursuing other livelihood options based on the different experiences of the women. As wage-workers, the networks have given these women the power to negotiate income earnings and assume more power in coordinating land-based livelihood activities." UNRISD interviews Patience Mutopo, a multidisciplinary researcher with academic training in social anthropology, political science, human rights law and international relations, about her work on the Fast Track Land Reform Programme in Zimbabwe.


Catching Up with the "Quiet Revolution"? Work-Family Policies in Latin America

Juliana Martinez Franzoni and Merike Blofield gave a talk on policies in Latin America that help to reconcile work and family as part of the UNRISD seminar series. They charted the changes in policies adopted between 2000 and 2011 across several dimensions, including conditional cash transfers, services and regulations for paid and unpaid workers, especially domestic workers. To listen to the podcast of the seminar (1:07:17 ), please visit and scroll down to "The Political and Social Economy of Care".

Solidarity Economy and Alternative Finance: A Different Development Model?

UNRISD and the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS) organized a side event at the 2012 Social Forum of the UN Human Rights Council. The event examined the potential and challenges of solidarity economy and how alternative finance could support or help scale up such development models. For a full recording of the event (1:40:00), or to listen to Peter Utting’s presentation (0:15:00), please visit and scroll down to "Social and Solidarity Economy".

Strengthening the Global Partnership for Development: A Roundtable at the UN Human Rights Council's 2012 Social Forum

UNRISD Director Sarah Cook spoke at a roundtable last week, organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) as part of the United Nations Human Rights Council's 2012 Social Forum. Other speakers included representatives from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).


Green Economy and Sustainable Development: Which Way for the Informal Economy?

Mary Njeri Kinyanjui and Fredrick Otieno Dawa
This think piece argues that the informal economy should be included in discussions on green economy. The informal economy represents three-fourths of non-agricultural employment in sub-Saharan Africa, making it an important component in the social, economic and political arenas in Africa. The authors draw on a case study on the informal sector in Kenya, known as the Kamukunji Jua Kali cluster, to make their case.

The Social Side of Biofuels in Brazil, India and Indonesia

Mairon Bastos Lima
The move away from fossil fuels towards cleaner fuels such as biofuels has been seen by some countries as an opportunity to both increase energy self-reliance and create an additional market for agriculture. However, the social implications remain understudied. This think piece, based on extensive field work in Brazil, India and Indonesia, looks at what this process means for social equity, especially for vulnerable groups, and whether biofuels could be an effective way to tackle rural poverty.


UNRISD Research Coordinator Shahra Razavi has a visiting professorship in Gender Studies at the universities of Fribourg and Bern, Switzerland, for the 2012 fall semester. Razavi will be teaching a course in social economics, globalization and gender.

UNRISD Research Coordinator Ilcheong Yi responded to an article on Asia's Next Revolution in the 8 September issue of The Economist. The letter, which was published in the 22 September issue, challenges the article's recommendations.

UNRISD welcomes applications from scholars wishing to spend time at the Institute as visiting research fellows and, in particular, from young researchers from the South.

A symposium will be held in commemoration of the life and academic legacy of Alice Amsden, who died on 14 March 2012 (see UNRISD tribute). The symposium will be held at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, on 19-20 October.


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