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Inequality and Poverty under Latin America's New Left Regimes

  • Darryl McLeod

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Fordham University)

  • Nora Lustig

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Tulane University)

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. 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. Second, 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.

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File URL: http://econ.tulane.edu/RePEc/pdf/tul1117.pdf
File Function: First version, 2010
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Paper provided by Tulane University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1117.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1117
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  1. Brollo, Fernanda & Nannicini, Tommaso & Perotti, Roberto & Tabellini, Guido, 2010. "The Political Resource Curse," CEPR Discussion Papers 7672, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2011. "A Political Theory of Populism," NBER Working Papers 17306, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Lustig, N. & Mcleod, D., 1996. "Minimum Wages and Poverty in Developing Countries : Some Empirical Evidence," Papers 125, Brookings Institution - Working Papers.
  5. Leonardo Gasparini & Guillermo Cruces & Leopoldo Tornarolli, 2009. "Recent trends in income inequality in Latin America," Working Papers 132, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  6. 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.
  7. Paul Collier & Benedikt Goderis, 2008. "Commodity Prices and Growth: An empirical investigation," OxCarre Working Papers 014, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
  8. Collier, Paul & Goderis, Benedikt, 2008. "Commodity Prices, Growth, and the Natural Resource Curse: Reconciling a Conundrum," MPRA Paper 17315, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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