A quantitative assessment of social exclusion in Pakistan

A quantitative assessment of social exclusion in Pakistan

Quantifying social exclusion in Pakistan

This briefing note aims to quantify the relationship between social exclusion and poverty in Pakistan. It offers a quantitative description and analysis of social exclusion in Pakistan through a literature review of all forms of exclusion and the analysis of datasets with information on socially excluded groups. The quantitative analysis measured the impact of social exclusion using a range of MDG indicators.

The findings were:

  • MDG indicators (income poverty, basic education, access to preventative health care, sanitation etc.) for the socially excluded are far below the average in the population as a whole e.g female sharecroppers have literacy rates one third of those of female farmers that are not considered socially excluded.
  • The disparities between the socially included and the socially excluded have a substantial effect on the current levels of MDG indicators for the country e.g. many key MDG indicators would improve by more than 10 percent if the levels of deprivation of the socially excluded were the same as the socially included.
  • Population sub-groups affected by multiple processes of exclusion are even worse off than those excluded along a single dimension e.g. religion alone. In particular, gender disparities increase among the socially excluded. For instance, literacy rates in young women are as low as 20% among some socially excluded groups, compared with 51% for male sharecroppers/labourers, and 75% for males in other occupations.
  • Econometric analysis suggests that social discrimination is a major cause of low enrolment rates in religious minorities and low living standards in sharecroppers. In the case of Hindu girls their multiple dimensions of exclusion have the same impact on the probability of school attendance as when girls’ enrolment is compared between households in the richest and poorest income quintiles.
  • Existing data (which is somewhat limited) suggests that social exclusion on the basis of religion is increasing. With the exception of the Punjab, religious minorities are lagging behind in literacy achievement and their enrolment of girls in school is either decreasing or remains unchanged during the second half of the 1990s.

Social exclusion analysis helps explain the deprivation of certain population sub-groups and the effect of different forms of social exclusion on MDG indicators. In addition it has the potential for capturing the mechanisms responsible for such deprivation. The potential power of this approach is the ability to explain rather than simply describe poverty. This type of analysis should enable policy makers to better target interventions aimed at alleviating poverty and improving MDG indicators. [adapted from author]