The Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index 2022


The Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index aims to monitor government policies and actions towards the goal of reducing inequality. The first CRI Index report was published in 2017 by UK-based organisations Development Finance International and Oxfam International. This fourth edition, released on October 11, 2022, was written by Jo Walker, Matthew Martin, Emma Seery, Nabil Abdo, Anthony Kamande, and Max Lawson, researchers working with Oxfam. 

The research report tracks the impact of covid-19 on social inequality. It ranks the actions of 161 governments across the world on their “commitment to reducing inequality” during 2020-2022. The CRI marks government policies across three categories: public services (health, education and social spending), taxation and workers’ rights. Each category is measured across the three levels of: policy commitments, implementation of policies and their impact on inequality.

The 77-page report is divided into four chapters: COVID-19 impact on inequality, government responses, and the role of the international financial institutions (IFIS) (Chapter 1); Fighting Inequality through public services: What progress is being made? (Chapter 2); Tax policy to fight inequality (Chapter 3); and Fighting inequality through labour rights and wages (Chapter 4). The report also contains recommendations and an annex listing the CRI Index rankings.


  1. The countries ranked highest are wealthier member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This, the report notes, is due to greater tax revenues from high-income individuals and corporations, allowing greater spending on social protection and public services. The countries ranked lowest on the CRI Index are those with lower incomes and which have faced internal conflict and political instability in recent years.

  2. Norway, Germany, Australia, Belgium and Canada rank highest on the 2022 CRI Index. On the other hand, South Sudan ranks lowest on the Index, followed by Liberia, Nigeria, Haiti and Guinea.

  3. As per the report, India occupies the 123rd place of the 161 countries in the Index. It ranks low in the pillars for public services (129) and labour rights (151) but high on the taxation pillar (16). Among the eight South Asian countries examined, India stands sixth.

  4. The 2022 report reclassifies India as having no minimum wage. This contributes to the low ranking of the country within the category of labour rights. Cuts in public health expenditure between 2019 and 2021 have also resulted in India falling to the 5th lowest ranking (157 out of 161) on health spending.

  5. The countries which score the highest in the CRI 2022 Index’s public service category are Poland (1), Finland (2), France (3), Japan (4) and Denmark (5). Whereas those scoring lowest are South Sudan (161), Nigeria (160), Chad (159), Afghanistan (158) and Niger (157).

  6. In the CRI category measuring progressive taxation and related policies, Australia (1), Lesotho (2), South Africa (3), China (4) and Canada (5) rank the highest in 2022. The countries faring lowest are North Macedonia (161), the Bahamas (160), Serbia (159), Occupied Palestinian Territory (158) and South Sudan (157).

  7. In the labour rights category of the 2022 Index, Slovakia (1), Denmark (2), Norway (3), Slovenia (4) and Finland (5) rank the highest. Whereas countries with the lowest scores in this category are Nigeria (161), South Sudan (160), Central African Republic (159), Zimbabwe (158) and Burundi (157).

  8. Despite the ongoing covid-19 crisis, almost 50 per cent of low- and lower-middle-income countries reduced public expenditure on health, the report states. Further, half the ranked countries studied in the Index cut down spending on social protection measures and 70 per cent reduced spending on education.

  9. Countries like Tajikistan (83 to 47), Maldives (72 to 40), and Bhutan (146 to 116) scored significant jumps in the rankings since 2020. In contrast, rankings of countries like Afghanistan (102 to 138), Togo (82 to 118) and Honduras (62 to 97) dropped dramatically.

  10. Despite a huge increase in the wealth of the richest individuals and corporations, countries experienced a fall in tax revenue during the pandemic. The report notes that this is because 143 (of the 161) countries studied did not increase taxes for the rich. Furthermore, 11 countries cut down taxes on rich individuals.

  11. According to data from the International Trade Union Confederation, Belgium, suppression of workers’ rights increased during covid-19. Around 87 per cent of countries violated the right to strike and 79 per cent violated workers’ right to collective bargaining. Moreover, 74 per cent of countries were noted to violate the rights of workers to form or join a union.

  12. The report recommends that governments across the world make corporate and personal income taxes more progressive with significantly higher rates for the richest individuals and companies. It also advocates for a decrease in tax exemptions for large corporations.

  13. It suggests that governments make education and health services freely available to people at the point of use. Initiatives for privatisation in these sectors should also be reversed, the report argues.

    Focus and Factoids by Ashaz Hussain Mohammed.


Jo Walker, Matthew Martin, Emma Seery, Nabil Abdo, Anthony Kamande and Max Lawson


Development Finance International and Oxfam International, UK


11 Oct, 2022