Inclusion, inequality and the politics of institutional change

We analyse how a rise in populism, inequality, and perceptions of democratic failure shape political engagement, participation and institutions.
The library of the Balkh University. Photo: © Sandra Calligaro/ Taimani Films/ World Bank

Institutions matter for development. However, which institutions matter most where, when and why is less clear. Our work explores how processes of state formation, contestation and bargaining, power relations, and evolving state/society relations shape patterns of inclusion and exclusion and prospects for political, social and economic transformation.

In partnership with a range of leading organisations, we explore emerging trends such as increasing inequality, the rise of populism, perceptions of democratic failure, the role of social media in democratic participation, and the importance of women’s political empowerment.

Key aims

  • Understand how to effectively foster inclusive institutions in ways that are more politically aware, flexible and adaptive.

  • Explore how democracy can deliver, and what the rise of populism means for the quality of democracy, representation, and participation.

  • Establish a strong presence as a commentator on issues of inequality, inclusion and the challenges of democratic representation and participation.