Research & Documentation


In order to generate sustained reductions in inequality, policy recommendations must be grounded in evidence, both of the policy problem and policy solutions. Working and living in the very countries where policies can have enormous impact, literally on the lives of billions of poor and marginalized people – both for good and for bad – CSO networks in Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China, South Africa and Mexico are uniquely positioned to offer first-hand experience on the effectiveness of such policies. The CSN BRICSAM network helps facilitate this transfer of knowledge and field-based evidence both across CSO networks and between network members and policymakers.

Research is crucial in order to gain a clear understanding of issues related to inequality through the eyes of people most affected and organisations at the frontline in fighting against it. Research on issues of development, poverty and inequality has often been dominated by universities, think tanks and NGOs, based in the Global North. CSN-BRICSAM brings Southern perspectives to the discussion, building synergies with existing Northern actors. This marks a shift in the centre of gravity from North to South and aims to bring the voices of people most affected by inequality to the centre of the global debate on how to reduce such disparities.

CSN BRICSAM contributes to a deeper understanding of inequality issues within and across CSO networks by characterizing the diverse dimensions of inequality across different country contexts. It provides a structure to share cases of policy success that can replicated elsewhere, facilitating both horizontal and vertical policy diffusion by using national cases to influence national policy in other countries and national cases to inform global policy. Conditional cash transfer programs, for example, have contributed to substantial declines in poverty and inequality and are widespread across Latin America, yet rare across the rest of the world. Civil society in Latin America has key learning and failings that other societies should be aware of before adopting such programs as automatic recipes to reduce inequality.

The CSN BRICSAM network will also jointly undertake new research to identify innovative policy solutions. CSO networks will lead these research processes. They will build an evidenced-based body of work, collected and analysed by organisations working with people most affected by inequality themselves, and validated in multiple country contexts. This research will inform the CSO networks´ joint advocacy strategies and policy recommendations. Partnerships with relevant research centres will be developed, in order to strengthen the research capacity of the CSO networks, and also to support the dissemination of the findings.

Some existing research documents on inequality, and watch this space for new research generated through CSN BRICSAM



To inform the advocacy strategies of the CSN BRICSAM, we’ve focused on conducting cross-country research on the Working Group’s thematic priorities.

“The Treaty on Transnational Corporations & Human Rights”: Led by REBRIP, this study is a mapping exercise that highlights the stakes, positions and strategies for civil society from emerging economies that seek to influence the United Nations ongoing process towards creating a binding treaty that enforces transnational corporations’ human rights obligations. The study aims to answer complex questions on the scope and content of the binding treaty. Namely, how to regulate business? Who is to be regulated, i.e. What kinds of corporations? How to define who is to be subjected to regulation? What sorts of rights are to be protected and how? What kinds of responsibility are to be imposed? How are these responsibilities to be enforced and by which institutions? How to translate all those issues into an effective legal instrument? Is a biding treaty the best legal form to be given for such instrument? After all, what is the need for a new international instrument in face of the existing international legal framework, and of those of national jurisdictions?

Second, this study also seeks to provide data and arguments for social movements and organizations of a specific set of countries of the global South – Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Africa – to assess how the treaty may contribute to the advancement of the business and human rights agenda in their own domestic contexts; and how to advocate in favor of it with officials in their own countries and international fora. In order to do so, the paper discusses the need for such a treaty in emerging economies, the obstacles that the advancement of the treaty may and does face in Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Africa, and what strategies can be mobilized by CSOs and social movements to overcome such obstacles. Although the focus lies on these countries, the analysis may be valuable for CSOs working in other emerging economies and countries of the global South that face similar challenges.

Click here to download: The Treaty on Transnational Corporations and Human Rights

“For Richer or Poorer: The Capture of Growth and Politics in Emerging Economies” The emerging economies Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and Turkey – in short, the BRICSAMIT – have come to be considered the economic powerhouses of recent decades. Not only have these countries managed to reduce poverty; most have embarked on a steep economic growth path and play an increasingly influential role on the global scene. But today, all eight BRICSAMIT countries occupy the top ranks as some of the most unequal countries in the world. The price these countries – and millions of their citizens – pay for this is high. Excessive inequality hampers development prospects: negatively impacting growth potential, threatening poverty reduction, leading to mass migration flows and ‘brain drain’, and reducing opportunities for young people. This summary paper – which draws from a forthcoming research report commissioned by civil society networks across the BRICSAMIT countries – aims to increase the urgency to tackle the structural causes of inequality by shedding light on the nature and scope of the issue in the BRICSAMIT, and the economic, political and social consequences these countries are now facing as a result.

Click here to download: ForRicherOrPoorerFINALdigital

For Richer For Poorer cover

‘Corporate Capture as a Threat to Equal Access to Medicines: A Case Study of Russia’: Led by GCAP Russia as part of a compendium that will provide a comparative analysis of the impact of transnational corporations (TNCs) on the health sector in Brazil, India and Russia, this paper focuses on the different dimensions of capture by corporations in access to medicines. While governments have the primary responsibility for ensuring access to health care for all their citizens as a fundamental human right, the role of the pharmaceutical industry in providing medicines carries its own responsibilities. But on the contrary, the case study shows how Big Pharma is shirking their responsibilities using a diverse set of strategies. Notably, the study outlines how Big Pharma unduly influences policy, captures civil society and academic research to support and maintain the status quo.

Click here to download: Corporate Capture

 ‘Tax Policy and Inequality: Comparative Study of Indonesia, South Africa and Brazil’ Led by INFID, this study takes an in-depth look at the prevailing tax policy in Brazil, South Africa, and Indonesia to measure how progressive their tax systems are, using examples of developed countries as a benchmark for comparison. It further investigates the composition of revenues by type of tax in order to indicate whether a state has a progressive tax system in place and whether all segments of society are being taxed equitably. Based on evidence gathered, the report  shows that the revenue performance and collection of all three countries lags far behind compared to that of the developed countries.

Click here to download: Tax Policy and Inequality Report

Tax Policy INFID

‘Health Spending and Inequality in Emerging Economies: India, China, Russia and Indonesia in Comparative Perspective’ New research from the Empowering CSO Networks in an Unequal Multi-polar World programme compares the cases of India, China, Russia and Indonesia in terms of levels and structures of health spending, and the impact on inequality in each of these countries. The report finds that in order to reduce inequality and improve the overall quality of healthcare there is a need to increase public healthcare spending. The research finds clear evidence to show a relationship between increased public provision of healthcare and publically-funded national health insurance programmes, and an overall reduction in inequality.

Click here to download: Health Spending and Inequality E Gomez

Health spending

‘Changing Food Systems and Inequality: Implications for Food Security and Public Policy’ Focusing on four BRICSAM nations (Brazil, India, Mexico, and South Africa), this report shows how current national policy responses have limited success in addressing inequality in access to nutritious food. This is due to the growing global power of multinational actors and a corresponding shift in the governance of the food system away from government-driven national development strategies towards corporate profit-seeking interests. Interests which, oftentimes, do not align with the goals of a more inclusive food system and secure access to nutritious food for all.

Click here to download: ECSN BRICSAM Changing Food Systems & Inequality Final (1)

changing food systems

‘At the Bottom of the Foodchain: Small Operators Versus Multinational Corporations in the Food Systems of South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, India and China’ When multinational corporations dominate the food value chain, small producers are marginalized and access to nutritious food becomes more expensive. Food security is not just about ensuring an adequate amount of calories, but that these calories remain wholesome.  Cross-country and single country analysis of multinational corporate influence on food production in South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, India and China including examples of political capture, the roll of taxation and tax policy, and recommendations on keeping food production a local matter.

Click here to download: At the Bottom of the Food Chain

food chaingrey



During the first months of the ECSN-BRICSAM program (April to October 2013), Oxfam worked with its CSO network partners to develop a common approach and conduct national consultations across the seven BRICSAM countries. The approach focused on six components: context analysis, network capacity and structure analysis, stakeholder analysis, network analysis, assessment of the level of understanding of inequality, and the definition of the agenda on inequality to be taken from the national to the global level.

More broadly, the process assessed network member perceptions about the role of civil society in national and global policy processes, and helped identify key influencing opportunities and thematic priorities. The results from the national consultations also highlighted the challenges related to the contexts in which civil society is operating in each of the countries – some are common to all seven countries, others are more specific to one or two. The information from this consultation will provide the foundation for all subsequent work: mechanisms for member engagement, topics for knowledge exchange and capacity building sessions, foci for new research, and policy recommendations to be fed into global dialogues.  It will enable individual CSO networks to better tailor their internal activities and advocacy, and will guide the global strategy of the ECSN-BRICSAM ‘network of networks’.

Cross-BRICSAM Consolidated Report

Click here to download: ECSN-BRICSAM consolidated National Consultations report


This report presents aggregated data and analysis from seven national baseline studies conducted between June 2013 and February 2014 in Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China, South Africa, and Mexico.

The baseline study used a participatory approach in which hundreds of CSO leaders, staff, and multiple grassroots organisations -members of the CSO networks in the seven BRICSAM countries- shared their views, conclusions, and knowledge by engaging in national workshops and answering multiple surveys, including a network capacity assessment. It includes a synthesis of findings and conclusions, focusing on cross-country results and the most significant trends across the whole programme, without dismissing examples useful for understanding specific characteristics of the partnering networks. The report also includes quantitative and qualitative analysis of data against all the logframe indicators, as well as signs of impact statements that reflect how the programme will make progress from the baseline towards achieving the desired objective.

Click here to download: ECSN-BRICSAM Baseline Report




This paper brings a multidimensional analysis of poverty and inequality in Brazil by presenting data for key indicators in recent years, exploring the main policies that contributed to or hindered progress, and indicating challenges and possible ways forward.

Click here to download: FULL REPORT Brazil Poverty and Inequality


Economic inequality in Russia increased radically in the beginning of the transition from a state socialist system to a capitalist market economy. In the 2000s, despite significant economic growth, income inequality has remained persistently high. Since the mid-2000s, the Russian government has started to make attempts to address high inequality, focussing on regional economic development and redistributive transfers to low-income and vulnerable regions and people. This report argues that without addressing labour market challenges, realizing the redistributive potential of the tax system and public services, improving anti-discrimination legislation, and addressing the problems of corruption and an inequitable law enforcement system, the fight against inequality in contemporary Russia is unlikely to succeed.

Click here to download: Inequality Report – Russia


The objective of this paper is to revisit the trends of various dimensions of inequality in Indonesia from early 1990s to early 2010s. Inequality is examined from two perspectives – inequality of outcome (measured by various income inequality indicators) and inequality of opportunity (measured by various indicators of education outcome and by health indicators).

Click here to download: Indonesia Inequality Report

2014 Indonesia Inequality Assessment  Report – The inequality report was updated in 2014 with more recent data and further analysis on structural drivers of inequality in Indonesia. However this second version is only available in Indonesian Bahasa.

Click here to download: Indonesia Inequality Assessment v2 2014

Social Barometer 2015 – In addition to the updated inequality report, INFID also prepared a study of public perceptions towards inequality. This document is only available in Indonesian Bahasa.

Click here to download: BAROMETER SOSIAL 2015


India’s inequality is an extremely complicated issue as it includes not only large economic inequalities, but also major disparities of caste, class and gender. This report identifies the major problems India is facing: disparities between rural and urban areas, concentration of wealth in the hands of few billionaires, discrimination based on caste, religion and gender, desperate need of improved sanitation and insufficient public spending on social services.

Click here to download: Inequality Report – India


Within an integrated framework, ‘The Challenge of inequality’ paper aims to present a systematic review on China’s inequality issues regarding economic and social development from the human development perspective. It analyses causes and consequences, and proposes recommendations to address the challenges of worsening inequality.

Click here to download: The Challenge of Inequality in China – March 2014 (Eng)

South Africa

The overall objective of the ‘Mind the Gap’ report is to conduct an assessment and analysis of policy trends on three thematic policy areas; namely – (i) economic policy and governance; (ii) social protection; and (iii) land and agrarian reform. The aim is to generate evidence to support policy and advocacy work, facilitate evidence based policy dialogue and advance alternatives based on research. Specifically, the paper focuses on the following interrelated areas: (1) Assess nature of trends in inequality –South Africa & Scoping of Existing InequalityResearch (Inequality-South Africa); and (2) Analyse national policies to address inequality in South Africa.

Click here to download: Mind the Gap – Composite Report

Click here to download: Mind the Gap – Concise inequality report

Click here to download: Inequality Pamphlet


This report seeks to analyse four of the main areas that produce inequality gaps in Mexico: gender, food security, development financing and climate change, while taking into consideration existing differences between rural and urban contexts and the corresponding emergence and expression of social needs. It also includes policy analysis of the topics mentioned above.

Click here to download: Mexico Inequality Report


Legislation affecting access to healthcare services (GCAP Russia)

Limited access to healthcare represents an important issue for a significant number of people in the Russian Federation. It especially concerns rural communities, senior citizens, large families, migrant workers, prisoners and persons with no fixed abode. This paper highlights the main problems of Russian healthcare (underfinancing, ineffectiveness of accumulation and allocation of public funding, informal payments, understaffing and medical staff disproportion, lack of affordable medicine and inequity in access to health care in rural areas) and provides recommendations to improve the unsatisfactory situation.

Click here to download: Legislation affecting access to healthcare services (GCAP Russia)

Barriers in Access to social Services based on peoples registration status (GCAP Russia)

This policy paper offers an analysis of the Russian law regarding homeless people and people without documentation. It provides a theoretical framework of the topic and relates the problem of people without documents, place of residence or stay to the issue of access to social services. As a solution to the problem, it drafts a reform of Russian Institution of Registration to ensure that human and civil rights and freedoms are realised regardless of where the citizen is and what their economic situation is.

Click here to download: Barriers in Access to social Services based on peoples registration status (GCAP Russia)

Tax Policy and Inequality (GCAP Russia and Oxfam)

Contemporary Russian society is facing high levels of socioeconomic inequality, largely caused by the inadequacy of existing tax policy. Russia adopted a system of flat personal income tax rate in 2001 and it fails to address the issue of inequality, which is officially recognized as one of the most urgent social issues. This paper suggests reintroducing a progressive personal income tax rate, increasing tax rates on dividends and introducing a wealth tax as possible solutions to the situation.

Click here to download: Tax Policy and Inequality (GCAP Russia and Oxfam)

Why India Needs a Women’s Reservation Bill (Oxfam India)

India needs to reinforce women’s rights and increase the number of women participating in the political life. Six decades have gone by since Independence brought hopes that democracy would equilibrate gender representation. Although reservations opened local bodies to women twenty years ago, high politics remains a men’s business (9 of 10 parliamentarians are men). After decades of delays and posturing, it is time to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill.

Click here to download: Why India Needs a Women’s Reservation Bill (Oxfam India)

Indonesia (INFID)

This document represents a compilation of the following policy analyses:

(1) Effectiveness of Poverty Reduction Policies and Programs

(2) Inequitable Taxation in Indonesia: Baseline Mapping of Policy Areas and Options in an Effort to Tackle the Issue

(3) Inequitable Access to Bank Loans

(4) Promoting Oil Palm Policies that Support Smallholders for Sustainable Environment

(5) Inequality and the Education and Health Care Privatization Policy

Click here to download: Indonesia – Inequality the Dark Side of Development in Indonesia

New Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme (GCAP China)

Since the establishment of new China over 60 years ago, Chinese government and its people have been exploring suitable rural medical solutions. The Chinese rural medical scheme has experienced many challenges and changes and has accumulated much needed expertise. This paper analyses and summarises the development process, achievements,  experience and lessons of China’s medical insurance system.

Click here to download: New Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme (GCAP China)

Rural Cooperative Financial Scheme (GCAP China)

This report reviews the policy evolution of different rural cooperative finance institutions since the establishment of new China. Furthermore, it analyses the rural finance development environment and the cooperative finance policies. Lastly, the report evaluates their impact on the rural inequality and proposes direction for policy reform.

Click here to download: Rural Cooperative Financial Scheme (GCAP China)

Mind the Gap: Minimum Wage in South Africa (SANI/EJN)

This policy analysis focuses on assessing the possibilities of a national statutory minimum wage in South Africa to address inequality

Click here to download: South Africa Mind the Gap_ Minimum Wage

G20 and Addressing the Issue of Inequality, Unemployment and Financing (INFID) 

This policy paper focuses on recommendations for the G20 leaders’ summit in Australia in 2014 and urges leaders to address the challenges of inequality, unemployment and financing through sound policies.

Click here to download: Addressing the Issue of Inequality, Unemployment and Financing

Transfer Pricing: A Playoff between Tax Authorities and MNCs (CBGA India)

With the introduction of open economic policies by most world governments and an increasing number of MNCs, transfer pricing has gained a lot of attention. This paper discusses the various issues with regulating transfer pricing and its economic consequences in countries like Brazil, Russia, China. The paper also explores current legal disputes over transfer pricing in India.

Click here to download: Transfer Pricing

Fiscal Policy Space in BRIICSAM Countries (CBGA India)

This briefing paper analyses fiscal policy space in Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China, South Africa and Mexico (BRICSAM) using two main guiding principles: Public expenditure on health and education and progressive revenue mobilization structure.

Click here to download: Fiscal Policy Space- policy brief

Policy briefs on issues of Inequalities in India (CBGA India)

Major Dimensions of Inequality in India: Gender

Gender inequalities manifests itself in various forms and  in India it constitutes a major concern. Civil society, in the country and globally,  plays a central role in shaping the policies and advocacy strategies within both international and national policy-making platforms to end these gender related inequalities.

Click here to download: Gender

Major Dimensions of Inequality in India: Health Care

Health inequalities in India have in most cases emerged due to inadequate provision and access to healthcare facilities. Access to healthcare is also aggravated by existing disparities in the country for example on socio-economic status, income, place of residence (rural – urban), caste, gender, religion and education entitlements just to mention a few.

Click here to download: HealthCare

Major Dimensions of Inequality in India: Education

Despite the provision of free and compulsory education to all children in the age group 6-14 years, a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution of India, the country is still grappling with inequalities in the education sector. Civil Society, however, has a great responsibility  in ensuring transparency and accountability measures in centers of learning, supporting policy strategies on universal, free, compulsory, quality schooling and above all encouraging the participation of marginalized communities in decision making processes.

Click here to download: Education

Major Dimensions of Inequality in India: Wage

This brief  highlights major wage inequality gaps  in India focusing on three issues; Sectoral (Private of Public sector), Regional (Urban or rural areas); and Gender (Male or Female)

Click here to download: Wage

Major Dimensions of Inequality in India: Taxation

For any country to address income and wealth inequality it is vital to put tax reforms at the top of  its policy agenda. This reforms will not only help narrow the  gap between rich and poor but will  also have a direct impact on how the government deliveries its services to its people.

Click here to download: Taxation

Development and Gender in Brazil and the Global South (EQUIT/REBRIP)

This is a compilation of 4 policy analyses related to inequality in Brazil and BRICS countries, taking into account the perspective of women.They highlight development and care policies, Brazilian society in relation to women’s growing participation in the labour market and power structures and also the institutionalization of minimum wage in Brazil

Click here to download: Development and Gender in the Global South

For a version in Portuguese, please follow this link:

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