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Changes in inequality and poverty in Latin America: Looking beyond income to health and education

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Abstract

This paper uses Demographic and Health Survey data from six Latin American countries to analyze levels and trends of inequality for two important non-income measures of wellbeing, childrenz s stature and adult womenq s educational attainment. Our purpose is to determine whether the worrying trend of increasing income inequality in Latin America is also found in non-income dimensions of well-being. We find that it is not. Almost across the board, health inequality, measured by childreni s stature, and education inequality, measured by young womeni s years of schooling, have fallen in these countries in the late 1980s and 1990s, often dramatically. Further, by decomposing changes in non-income dimensions of poverty into shifts in the mean and changes in the distribution of health and education, we show that reduced inequality has contributed to significant reductions in education poverty, and to a lesser extent, health poverty. This, too, is a very different result from the income inequality literature.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Universidad del CEMA in its journal Journal of Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): IX (2006)
Issue (Month): (November)
Pages: 215-234

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Handle: RePEc:cem:jaecon:v:9:y:2006:n:2:p:215-234

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Keywords: inequality; poverty; health; education; Latin America;

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References

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  1. Christiaensen, Luc & Demery, Lionel & Paternostro, Stefano, 2002. "Growth, distribution, and poverty in Africa : messages from the 1990s," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2810, The World Bank.
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  15. de Janvry, Alain & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 2000. "Growth, Poverty, and Inequality in Latin America: A Causal Analysis, 1970-94," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(3), pages 267-87, September.
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  17. Kristin J. Forbes, 2000. "A Reassessment of the Relationship between Inequality and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 869-887, September.
  18. Adam Wagstaff & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2004. "Overall versus socioeconomic health inequality: a measurement framework and two empirical illustrations," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(3), pages 297-301.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Ewout Frankema, 2008. "Comparing the Distribution of Education Across the Developing World, 1960–2005: What Does the Grade Enrollment Distribution Tell about Latin America?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 88(3), pages 437-455, September.
  2. Mussa, Richard, 2011. "The poverty-inequality relationship in Malawi: A multidimensional perspective," MPRA Paper 31413, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Richard Mussa, 2013. "Spatial Comparisons of Poverty and Inequality in Living Standards in Malawi," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 81(2), pages 192-210, 06.
  4. Mussa, Richard, 2010. "Poverty and Inequality in Standards of Living in Malawi: Does Religious Affiliation Matter?," MPRA Paper 24438, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Judith Clarke & Nilanjana Roy, 2012. "On statistical inference for inequality measures calculated from complex survey data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 499-524, October.
  6. Isaac Addai & Jelena Pokimica, 2012. "An Exploratory Study of Trust and Material Hardship in Ghana," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 109(3), pages 413-438, December.
  7. Therese Nilsson, 2010. "Health, Wealth and Wisdom: Exploring Multidimensional Inequality in a Developing Country," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 95(2), pages 299-323, January.
  8. Jane Kabubo-Mariara & Anthony Wambugu & Susan Musau, 2011. "Multidimensional Poverty in Kenya: Analysis of Maternal and Child Wellbeing," Working Papers PMMA 2011-12, PEP-PMMA.

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