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La frontera de posibilidades de desigualdad en América Latina


  • Serrano, Joaquín

    (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS), Universidad Nacional de La Plata y Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones, Ciencias y Técnicas (CONICET))

  • Benzaquén, Ivana

    (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS), Universidad Nacional de La Plata)


Background. This paper presents new evidence of the inequality possibility frontier and the inequality extraction ratio (the percentage of total inequality that was extracted by global elites) of Latin America (LA) in the last two decades. Moreover, we explore the relevance of the inequality extraction ratio (IER) in the analysis of social conflict, institutional instability and corruption. Methods. Estimation of IER and Gini index for 18 Latin American countries in the period 1990-2013, using household surveys. Estimation of multivariate econometric models with fixed effects to analyze the relationship between income distribution and indicators of social conflict. Results. AL improves two positions in the ranking of global inequality using the IER instead of Gini index. Within Latin America there is a process of convergence in levels of inequality, but the two measures evolve differently: while the Gini index increases in the 90s and decreases in the 2000s, the IER decreases throughout the entire period. In addition, we found a positive association between IER and social conflict. Conclusions. Using the IER, LA is not as unequal as with the Gini index. Moreover, countries in LA with high rates of IER are more likely to have high levels of social conflict.//Antecedentes. Este artículo presenta nueva evidencia sobre la frontera de posibilidades de desigualdad y la tasa de extracción (cuánto de la desigualdad potencial se convierte en desigualdad real) para América Latina (AL) en las últimas dos décadas. Asimismo, se explora la relevancia de la tasa de extracción (TE) en el análisis del conflicto social y la estabilidad institucional. Métodos. Cómputo de la TE y del coeficiente de Gini, para 18 países de AL en el periodo 1990-2013, usando encuestas de hogares. Se estiman modelos econométricos multivariados con efectos fijos para analizar la relación entre la distribución del ingreso e indicadores de conflicto social. Resultados. AL mejora dos posiciones en el ranking de desigualdad mundial al usar la TE en lugar del Gini. Dentro de AL existe un proceso de convergencia en niveles de desigualdad, aunque las medidas se comportan diferente: mientras que el Gini aumenta en los 90 y disminuye en los 2000, la TE mantiene una tendencia decreciente a lo largo de todo el periodo. Adicionalmente, se encuentra que la TE está positivamente relacionada con las situaciones de conflicto e inestabilidad política. Conclusiones. Según la TE, América Latina no es tan desigual como con el Gini. Asimismo, mayor TE está asociada a mayores niveles de conflicto social en AL.

Suggested Citation

  • Serrano, Joaquín & Benzaquén, Ivana, 2017. "La frontera de posibilidades de desigualdad en América Latina," El Trimestre Económico, Fondo de Cultura Económica, vol. 0(334), pages .427-461, abril-jun.
  • Handle: RePEc:elt:journl:v:84:y:2017:i:334:p:427-461

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    More about this item


    desigualdad; frontera de posibilidades de desigualdad; tasa de extracción; América Latina;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics


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