Mobility equity in a globalized world: Reducing inequalities in the sustainable development agenda

Elsevier, World Development, Volume 112, December 2018
Hackl A.
Human mobility and inequality have determined one another throughout modern history, from the effects of labour migration to processes of urbanisation. The Sustainable Development Goals now offer an opportunity to re-examine this complex relationship in a globalized world. Drawing on major research evidence and key debates, this review article proposes a framework of mobility equity as part of SDG 10, which foresees the reduction of inequalities within and among countries by 2030. The main question addressed is how forms of social, human and digital mobility, including migration, can contribute to reduced inequalities and positive development outcomes. The reviewed research underpins the need for an approach that prioritizes equality of opportunity over equality of outcomes. Mobility equity offers such an approach and rests on two main foundations: people's equal capacity and freedom to be mobile in empowering ways, and the equal and inclusive regulation of mobility in all its forms, including human, social and digital mobility. The approach goes beyond income inequality and migrants’ remittances to incorporate the differential mobility capacities among people in different contexts. This includes categorically excluded groups such as refugees, racialized minorities, and lower castes, but also tens of millions of workers in the global digital economy. As part of a special issue on new SDG Perspectives, the article provides new ideas for thinking about research and policy-making within the wider inequality-mobility nexus of global development.