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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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  • David E. Sahn & Stephen D. Younger, 2006. "Changes in inequality and poverty in Latin America: Looking beyond income to health and education," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 9, pages 215-234, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:cem:jaecon:v:9:y:2006:n:2:p:215-234
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    Cited by:

    1. Isaac Addai & Jelena Pokimica, 2012. "An Exploratory Study of Trust and Material Hardship in Ghana," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 109(3), pages 413-438, December.
    2. Duclos, Jean-Yves & Leblanc, Josée & Sahn, David E., 2011. "Comparing population distributions from bin-aggregated sample data: An application to historical height data from France," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 419-437.
    3. Mussa, Richard, 2011. "The poverty-inequality relationship in Malawi: A multidimensional perspective," MPRA Paper 31413, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. 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.
    5. David E. Sahn & Stephen D. Younger, 2009. "Measuring intra‐household health inequality: explorations using the body mass index," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(S1), pages 13-36, April.
    6. Mussa, Richard, 2010. "Poverty and Inequality in Standards of Living in Malawi: Does Religious Affiliation Matter?," MPRA Paper 24438, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Rodriguez Takeuchi Laura, 2015. "Intra-Household Inequalities in Child Rights and Well-Being: A Barrier to Progress?," WIDER Working Paper Series 012, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    8. 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, June.
    9. Cabrera, Maynor & Lustig, Nora & Morán, Hilcías E., 2015. "Fiscal Policy, Inequality, and the Ethnic Divide in Guatemala," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 263-279.
    10. Therese Nilsson, 2010. "Health, Wealth and Wisdom: Exploring Multidimensional Inequality in a Developing Country," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 95(2), pages 299-323, January.
    11. 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.
    12. Emily Nell & Martin Evans & Janet Gornick, 2016. "Child Poverty in Middle-Income Countries," LIS Working papers 666, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    13. Cabrera, Maynor & Lustig, Nora & Morán, Hilcías E., 2015. "Fiscal Policy, Inequality, and the Ethnic Divide in Guatemala," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 263-279.
    14. 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: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 88(3), pages 437-455, September.
    15. Rodríguez, Laura, 2016. "Intrahousehold Inequalities in Child Rights and Well-Being. A Barrier to Progress?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 111-134.
    16. Cabrera, Maynor & Lustig, Nora & Morán, Hilcías E., 2015. "Fiscal Policy, Inequality, and the Ethnic Divide in Guatemala," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 263-279.
    17. repec:bla:rdevec:v:21:y:2017:i:2:p:304-320 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    inequality; poverty; health; education; Latin America;

    JEL classification:

    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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