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Inequality Trends and their Determinants: Latin America over 1990-2010

The paper reviews the steady and widespread decline in income inequality which has taken place in most of Latin America over 2002-10 and which––if continued for another 2-3 years––would reduce the average regional income inequality to pre-liberalization levels. The paper then focuses on the factors, which may explain such inequality decline. A review of the literature and an econometric test indicate that a few complementary factors played an important role in this regard, including a drop in the skill premium following a rapid expansion of secondary education, and the adoption of a new development model by a growing number of left-of-centre governments which emphasizes fiscally-prudent but more equitable macroeconomic, tax, social expenditure and labour policies. For the region as a whole, improvements in terms of trade, migrant remittances, FDI and world growth played a less important role than expected although their impact was perceptible in countries where such transactions were sizeable.

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Paper provided by Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa in its series Working Papers - Economics with number wp2012_02.rdf.

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Length: 57 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:frz:wpaper:wp2012_02.rdf
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  1. Giovanni Andrea Cornia, 2010. "Income Distribution under Latin America's New Left Regimes," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(1), pages 85-114.
  2. Leonardo Gasparini & Guillermo Cruces & Leopoldo Tornarolli & Mariana Marchionni, 2009. "A Turning Point? Recent Developments on Inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0081, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  3. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong Wha, 2013. "A new data set of educational attainment in the world, 1950–2010," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 184-198.
  4. Giovanni Andrea Cornia & Juan Carlos Gómez-Sabaini & Bruno Martorano, 2012. "A New Fiscal Pact, Tax Policy Changes and Income Inequality," Working Papers - Economics wp2012_03.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
  5. Kristensen, Nicolai & Cunningham, Wendy, 2006. "Do minimum wages in Latin America and the Caribbean matter ? Evidence from 19 countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3870, The World Bank.
  6. Torche, Florencia & Spilerman, Seymour, 2006. "Household Wealth in Latin America," Working Paper Series RP2006/114, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  7. Stanley L. Engerman & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 2005. "Colonialism, Inequality, and Long-Run Paths of Development," NBER Working Papers 11057, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Ariel Fiszbein & Norbert Schady & Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Margaret Grosh & Niall Keleher & Pedro Olinto & Emmanuel Skoufias, 2009. "Conditional Cash Transfers : Reducing Present and Future Poverty," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2597, October.
  9. Cornia, Giovanni Andrea (ed.), 2005. "Inequality, Growth, and Poverty in an Era of Liberalization and Globalization," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199284108, March.
  10. Leandro Prados de la Escosura, 2005. "Growth, Inequality, And Poverty In Latin America: Historical Evidence, Controlled Conjectures," Working Papers in Economic History wh054104, Universidad Carlos III, Instituto Figuerola de Historia y Ciencias Sociales.
  11. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Nina Pavcnik, 2007. "Distributional Effects of Globalization in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(1), pages 39-82, March.
  12. Claudia Sanhueza & Ricardo Mayer, 2011. "Top Incomes in Chile using 50 years of household surveys : 1957-2007," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 38(1 Year 20), pages 169-193, June.
  13. Nancy Birdsall, Nora Lustig, and Darryl McLeod, 2011. "Declining Inequality in Latin America: Some Economics, Some Politics - Working Paper 251," Working Papers 251, Center for Global Development.
  14. Birdsall, Nancy & de la Torre, Augusto & Caicedo, Felipe Valencia, 2010. "The Washington consensus : assessing a damaged brand," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5316, The World Bank.
  15. Roberto Frenkel & Martin Rapetti, 2008. "Five years of competitive and stable real exchange rate in Argentina, 2002-2007," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(2), pages 215-226.
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