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

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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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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