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Growth, Inequality, And Poverty In Latin America: Historical Evidence, Controlled Conjectures

  • Leandro Prados de la Escosura


How have growth and inequality affected poverty reduction in Latin America over the long run? On the basis of the available evidence on growth and inequality tentative answers and conjectures are proposed about the long run evolution of poverty in Latin America. Modern Latin America experienced sustained growth since mid nineteenth century only brought to a halt during the 1980s. Inequality, in turn, rose steadily until a high plateau in which it has stabilized over the last four decades of the twentieth century. A calibration exercise on the basis of López and Servén (2005) recent empirical research suggests that absolute poverty has experienced a long-run decline in Latin America since the late nineteenth century, interrupted in the 1890s and the 1930s, and only reversed in the 1980s. Growth emerges as the main element underlying the reduction in absolute poverty, and almost exclusively in the second half of the twentieth century.

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Paper provided by Universidad Carlos III, Instituto Figuerola de Historia y Ciencias Sociales in its series Working Papers in Economic History with number wh054104.

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Date of creation: Jun 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cte:whrepe:wh054104
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  1. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 2003. "Measuring pro-poor growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 93-99, January.
  2. Valpy Fitzgerald & Pablo Astorga, 2003. "Productivity Growth in Latin America during the Twentieth Century," Economics Series Working Papers 2003-W52, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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  8. Pablo Astorga & Ame E. Bergés & Valpy Fitzgerald, 2005. "Endogenous Growth and Exogenous Shocks in Latin America during the Twentieth Century," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _057, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  9. Ravallion, Martin, 2004. "Pro-poor growth : A primer," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3242, The World Bank.
  10. Leandro Prados de la Escosura, 2004. "Colonial Independence And Economic Backwardness In Latin America," Working Papers in Economic History wh046503, Universidad Carlos III, Instituto Figuerola de Historia y Ciencias Sociales.
  11. Leandro Prados de la Escosura, 2004. "When Did Latin America Fall Behind?.Evidence From Long-Run International Inequality," Working Papers in Economic History wh046604, Universidad Carlos III, Instituto Figuerola de Historia y Ciencias Sociales.
  12. Ronald Lee, 2003. "The Demographic Transition: Three Centuries of Fundamental Change," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 167-190, Fall.
  13. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal Of Fortune: Geography And Institutions In The Making Of The Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294, November.
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  15. Ravallion, Martin, 1997. "Can high-inequality developing countries escape absolute poverty?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 51-57, September.
  16. Carlos Newland & Javier Ortiz, 2001. "The Economic Consequences of Argentine Independence," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 38(115), pages 275-290.
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