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The Impact of Globalization on the Poor in Latin America


  • Erik Thorbecke


  • Machiko Nissanke



This paper consists of four parts following an introduction. Section 2 analyzes and describes the main channels (transmission mechanisms) through which the process of globalization affects poverty directly and indirectly. Section 3 reviews the major effects of globalization on the Latin American economy - keeping in mind that few generalizations can be made with much assurance. Section 4 focuses on 13 case studies of the impact of globalization within different Latin American settings undertaken under the auspices of a UNU/ WIDER project directed by the authors. These case studies reveal clearly how the effects of different manifestations of globalization on poverty tend to be context-specific. In general, the main globalization channels appeared not to have been able to reduce overall poverty in the region. Between 1981 and 2004 growth was anemic and its pattern was not pro-poor, instead bringing about greater income inequality. The transfer of technology tended to benefit the skilled workers and hurt the unskilled. The one ray of hope in an otherwise bleak picture consists of the safety nets and social protection schemes implemented in an innovative fashion by some of the larger countries in the region.

Suggested Citation

  • Erik Thorbecke & Machiko Nissanke, 2008. "The Impact of Globalization on the Poor in Latin America," ECONOMIA JOURNAL, THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION - LACEA, vol. 0(Fall 2008), pages 153-196, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000425:008593

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    Cited by:

    1. Nissanke, Machiko & Thorbecke, Erik, 2010. "Globalization, Poverty, and Inequality in Latin America: Findings from Case Studies," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 797-802, June.

    More about this item


    globalization; poverty; income; Latin America;

    JEL classification:

    • F00 - International Economics - - General - - - General
    • F20 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - General
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty


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