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Urban Power: Democracy and Inequality in São Paulo and Johannesburg
Speaker:
Ben Bradlow, Postdoctoral Fellow, Weatherhead Scholars Program, Harvard University

Moderator:
Bruno Carvalho, Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and African and African American Studies

Discussant:
Alisha Holland, Associate Professor of Government, Harvard University

The divergent trajectories of São Paulo and Johannesburg’s distribution of urban public goods — housing, sanitation, and collective transportation — since their respective countries’ transitions to democracy transform questions about the relationship between democracy and equality into an empirical puzzle: Why are some cities more effective than others at reducing inequality? I argue that Sao Paulo’s success relative to Johannesburg was thanks to the sequence and configuration of two factors: the “embeddedness” of the local state in civil society, especially housing movements, and the “cohesion” of the local state to coordinate across scales of government.

Feb 10, 2021 12:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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