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The 1990s in Latin America: Another Decade of Persistent Inequality, but with Somewhat Lower Poverty

Author

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  • Miguel Székely

    (Ministry of Social Development, Mexico)

Abstract

This paper processes 76 household surveys from 17 Latin American countries to document changes in poverty and inequality during the 1990s, and performs an analysis of the effect of economic reforms on inequality and poverty by using an expanded data base of 94 surveys spanning the 1977-2000 period. We show that there is no country in Latin America where inequality declined during the 1990s. Poverty declined in 10 or 11 out of the 17 countries for which household surveys are available to us, depending on the poverty measured used. Persistently high inequality inhibited further poverty reduction. One important factor contributing to the persistently high inequality level is financial liberalization. Trade liberalization and slight inequality-reducing effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Miguel Székely, 2003. "The 1990s in Latin America: Another Decade of Persistent Inequality, but with Somewhat Lower Poverty," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 6, pages 317-339, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:cem:jaecon:v:6:y:2003:n:2:p:317-339
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    File URL: http://www.cema.edu.ar/publicaciones/download/volume6/szekely.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-766, May.
    2. Li, Hongyi & Squire, Lyn & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(446), pages 26-43, January.
    3. Eduardo Lora, 1997. "Una década de reformas estructurales en América Latina: ¿Qué se ha reformado y cómo cuantificarlo?," Research Department Publications 4075, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
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    Cited by:

    1. Popli, Gurleen K., 2010. "Trade Liberalization and the Self-Employed in Mexico," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 803-813, June.
    2. repec:spr:manint:v:49:y:2009:i:4:d:10.1007_s11575-009-0005-8 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    inequality; poverty; Latin America;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean

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