Falling Inequality in Latin America: Policy Changes and Lessons

Hardcover | February 16, 2014

EditorGiovanni Andrea Cornia

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The volume aims to document and explain the sizeable decline of income inequality that has taken place in Latin America during the 2000s. It does so through an exploration of inequality changes in six representative countries, and ten policy chapters dealing with macroeconomics, foreign trade,taxation, labour market, human capital formation, and social assistance, which point to the emergence of a "new policy model". The volume addresses a major issue in economic development with profound implications for many developing regions and those OECD countries mired in a long-lasting financialcrisis and economic stagnation. For at least the last quarter of the twentieth century, Latin America suffered from low growth, rising inequality, and frequent financial crises. However, since the turn of the century, growth accelerated, inequality declined, poverty fell, and macroeconomic stability improved, all this in parallelto the spread of centre-left political regimes in three quarters of the region. This inequality decline has taken many by surprise as, for a long time, the region has been a symbol of a deeply entrenched unequal distribution of assets, incomes, and opportunities, limited or no state redistribution,and a deeply embedded authoritarianism enforcing an unjust status quo. The recent Latin American experience is particularly valuable as inequality was reduced under open economy conditions and in a period of intensifying global integration, which have often been considered as a source of rising inequality. In this sense, however imperfect, the recent Latin Americanexperience may be of interest to countries completing their transition to the market and liberal democracy (as in the former socialist countries of Europe), facing a political transition (as those affected by the Arab Spring, Myanmar and countries in sub-Saharan Africa), or recording rises ininequality and social tensions in spite of rapid economic growth (as in China and India).Until recently there was not much agreement on the drivers of the inequality decline in the region, which was attributed to changes in the supply/demand of skilled workers, improvements in terms of trade, the spread of social assistance schemes, or "luck". In this respect, the volume offers thefirst scholarly and systematic exploration of this unexpected change. As income inequality has been rising and is currently rising in many parts of the world, a good understanding of the Latin American experience over the 2000s is a topic that will inform and generate a lot of attention.

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The volume aims to document and explain the sizeable decline of income inequality that has taken place in Latin America during the 2000s. It does so through an exploration of inequality changes in six representative countries, and ten policy chapters dealing with macroeconomics, foreign trade,taxation, labour market, human capital form...

Since 2000, Giovanni Andrea Cornia has taught economics at the University of Florence. Prior to that he was the Director of UNU-WIDER and held research positions in various UN agencies. He has lectured in several Italian and foreign universities in both developing and developed countries and has been visiting professors or visiting sc...

other books by Giovanni Andrea Cornia

Format:HardcoverDimensions:408 pagesPublished:February 16, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198701802

ISBN - 13:9780198701804

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Table of Contents

Part I: Inequality Changes and the Surfacing of New Policy Approaches1. Giovanni Andrea Cornia: Recent Distributive Changes in Latin America: An Overview2. Giovanni Andrea Cornia: Inequality Trends and their Determinants: Latin America over 1990-20103. Kenneth M. Roberts: The Politics of Inequality and Redistribution in Latin America's Post-Adjustment EraPart II: Recent Inequality Changes in Six Representative Latin American Countries4. Juan Ponce and Rob Vos: Redistribution without Structural Change in Ecuador: Rising and Falling Income Inequality in the 1990s and 2000s5. Dante Contreras and Ricardo Ffrench-Davis: Policy Regimes, Inequality, Poverty and Growth: The Chilean Experience, 1973-20106. Veronica Amarante, Marco Colafranceschi, and Andrea Vigorito: Uruguay's Income Inequality and Political Regimes over 1981-20107. Raymundo Campos-Vazquez, Gerardo Esquivel, and Nora Lustig: The Rise and Fall of Income Inequality in Mexico, 1989-20108. Carlos Acevedo and Maynor Cabrera: Social Policies or Private Solidarity? The Equalizing Role of Migration and Remittances in El Salvador9. Stephan Klasen, Thomas Otter, and Carlos Villalobos Barria: The Dynamics of Inequality Change in a Highly Dualistic EconomyPart III: Main Policy Changes and Inequality during the Last Decade10. Mario Damill and Roberto Frenkel: Macroeconomic Policies, Growth, Employment, Poverty, and Inequality in Latin America11. Miguel Szekely and Claudia Samano-Robles: Trade and Income Distribution in Latin America: Is There Anything New to Say?12. Saul N. Keifman and Roxana Maurizio: Changes in Labour Market Conditions and Policies and their Impact on Wage Inequality during the Last Decade13. Richard B. Freeman: What Can Latin America Learn from China's Labour Market Reforms?14. Giovanni Andrea Cornia, Juan Carlos Gomez-Sabaini, and Bruno Martorano: Tax Policy and Income Distribution during the Last Decade15. Guillermo Cruces, Carolina Garcia Domench, and Leonardo Gasparini: Inequality in Education: Evidence for Latin America16. Armando Barrientos: On the Distributional Implications of Social Protection Reforms in Latin America