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

  • Miguel Székely

    (Ministry of Social Development, Mexico)

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    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.

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

    Volume (Year): VI (2003)
    Issue (Month): (November)
    Pages: 317-339

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    Handle: RePEc:cem:jaecon:v:6:y:2003:n:2:p:317-339
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    1. 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.
    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. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
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