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Growth, Poverty, and Inequality in Latin America: A Causal Analysis, 1970-94

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  • de Janvry, Alain
  • Sadoulet, Elisabeth

Abstract

Taking advantage of consistent poverty and income inequality data for 12 Latin American countries between 1970 and 1994, we analyze the determinants of changes in the incidence of urban and rural poverty and in Gini coefficients over spells of years, stressing in particular the role of aggregate income growth. We find that income growth reduces urban and rural poverty but not inequality. We also find that income growth is more effective in reducing urban poverty if the levels of inequality and poverty are lower, and the levels of secondary education higher. We show that there is an asymmetry in the impact of growth on poverty and inequality, with recession having strong negative effects on both poverty and inequality. Since growth does not reduce inequality, economic cycles create ratchet effects on the level of inequality. However, post-structural adjustment growth is quite effective at reducing poverty, particularly if inequality is low. Copyright 2000 by The International Association for Research in Income and Wealth.

Suggested Citation

  • 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 267-287, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:46:y:2000:i:3:p:267-87
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