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Income distribution in the Latin American Southern Cone during the first globalization boom, ca: 1870-1920

  • Luis Bertola

    ()

  • Cecilia Castelnovo

    ()

  • Javier Rodriguez

    ()

  • Henry Willebald

    ()

Latin America is the most unequal region in the world and there is a lively debate concerning the explanations and timing of such high levels of income inequality. Latin America was also the region, not including European Offshoots, which experienced the most rapid growth during the first globalization boom. It can, therefore, be taken as an interesting case study for how globalization forces impinged on growth and income distribution in peripheral regions. This paper presents a first estimate of income inequality in the Southern Cone of South America (Brazil 1872 and 1920, Chile 1870 and 1920, Uruguay 1920) and some assumptions concerning Argentina (1870 and 1920), and Uruguay (1870). We find an increasing inequality trend between 1870 and 1920 which can be explained as a process of inequality both within individual countries and between countries. This trend is discussed along three lines: the relation between inequality and per capita income levels; the dynamics of the expansion to new areas, and movements of relative factor prices and of the terms of trade.

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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 wp08-05.

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Date of creation: Apr 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cte:whrepe:wp08-05
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