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Inequality and poverty under Latin America’s new left regimes

Author

Listed:
  • Darryl McLeod

    () (Fordham University)

  • Nora Lustig

    () (Tulane University and Center for Global Development)

Abstract

Inequality and poverty fell sharply in many Latin American countries during a decade in which voters in ten countries chose left-leaning leaders. Are these developments related? Using data for 18 Latin American countries, this paper presents econometric evidence that social democratic regimes in Brazil and Chile were more successful at reducing inequality and poverty than the so-called populist regimes of Argentina, Bolivia, and Venezuela. Both groups implemented policies to redistribute income, but the social democratic regimes’ efforts were more effective. The left populists regimes such as Argentina and Venezuela started the 1990-2008 sample window with lower levels of inequality, so to some extent recent reductions in inequality are a return to “normal” levels (as estimated by fixed effects). Conversely, inequality and poverty in Brazil and Chile fell to historic lows. Moreover, overall terms of trade shocks were more favorable to Argentina and Venezuela, so part of the drop in inequality can be attributed to commodity price booms.

Suggested Citation

  • Darryl McLeod & Nora Lustig, 2011. "Inequality and poverty under Latin America’s new left regimes," Working Papers 208, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  • Handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2011-208
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    File URL: http://www.ecineq.org/milano/WP/ECINEQ2011-208.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fernanda Brollo & Tommaso Nannicini & Roberto Perotti & Guido Tabellini, 2013. "The Political Resource Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1759-1796, August.
    2. Paul Collier & Benedikt Goderis, 2007. "Commodity Prices, Growth, and the Natural Resource Curse: Reconciling a Conundrum," CSAE Working Paper Series 2007-15, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    3. Collier, Paul & Goderis, Benedikt, 2012. "Commodity prices and growth: An empirical investigation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 1241-1260.
    4. Leonardo Gasparini & Guillero Cruces & Leopoldo Tornarolli, 2011. "Recent Trends In Income Inequality In Latin America," ECONOMIA JOURNAL, THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION - LACEA, vol. 0(Spring 20), pages 147-201, January.
    5. Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2013. "A Political Theory of Populism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 771-805.
    6. Lustig, N. & Mcleod, D., 1996. "Minimum Wages and Poverty in Developing Countries : Some Empirical Evidence," Papers 125, Brookings Institution - Working Papers.
    7. 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.
    8. Maxim Pinkovskiy & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2009. "Parametric Estimations of the World Distribution of Income," NBER Working Papers 15433, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Porras, Laila, 2015. "Croissance, inégalités et pauvreté au sein des pays émergents : le cas des BRICS," Revue de la Régulation - Capitalisme, institutions, pouvoirs, Association Recherche et Régulation, vol. 18.
    2. Nancy Birdsall & Nora Lustig & Darryl McLeod, 2011. "Declining Inequality in Latin America: Some Economics, Some Politics," Working Papers 1120, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    3. repec:spr:soinre:v:134:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1465-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Seguino, Stephanie & Braunstein, Elissa, 2012. "The impact of economic policy and structural change on gender employment inequality in Latin America, 1990-2010," MPRA Paper 43261, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Azevedo, Joao Pedro & Davalos, Maria Eugenia & Diaz-Bonilla, Carolina & Atuesta, Bernardo & Castaneda, Raul Andres, 2013. "Fifteen years of inequality in Latin America : how have labor markets helped ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6384, The World Bank.
    6. Kapelyuk Sergey, 2014. "Impact of minimum wage on income distribution and poverty in Russia," EERC Working Paper Series 14/03e, EERC Research Network, Russia and CIS.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    inequality; poverty; social policy; new left; Latin America.;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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