High inequality in incomes and assets and persistent poverty continue to plague Latin America and remain a central economic policy challenge for Latin American policymakers. At the same time, dramatically improved methods and data allow researchers to analyze these problems and how they are affected by economic policy. In this book, experts on Latin American economic affairs use these new approaches to examine the dynamics of poverty and inequality in Latin America and the ability of policy to address them.
Contributors first analyze the historical evolution of inequality in Latin America, examining such topics as the origins of inequality in colonial land distribution, the impact of educational opportunities on earnings inequality in Brazil, and racial discrimination in Brazil's labor market. Contributors then use sophisticated panel data techniques to analyze the regional dynamics of poverty and inequality in Peru and Brazil, considering whether there are spatial poverty traps and, if so, what determines such traps. Finally, contributors use innovative impact evaluation and modeling techniques to examine specific policy issues: devaluation and dollarization in Bolivia, the Oportunidades conditional cash transfer program in rural Mexico, and the distributional effect of Brazil's tax-benefit system.
Contributors: Rozane Bezerra de Siqueira, Jere R. Behrman, Denis Cogneau, Philippe De Vreyer, Ewout Frankema, Jérémie Gignoux, Javier Herrera, Herwig Immervoll, Stephan Klasen, Phillippe G. Leite, Horacio Levy, Sandrine Mesplé-Somps, José Ricardo Nogueira, Felicitas Nowak-Lehmann, Cathal O'Donoghue, Susan W. Parker, Rainer Schweickert, Gilles Spielvogel, Rainer Thiele, Petra E. Todd, Manfred Wiebelt
CESifo Seminar series
About the Editors
Stephan Klasen is Professor of Development Economics at the University of Göttingen, where he also heads the Ibero-American Institute for Economic Research.
Felicitas Nowak-Lehmann is a Senior Researcher at the Ibero-American Institute for Economic Research.
"Poverty and inequality are inherently complex features of any society, with multiple long- and short-term causes, consequences, and cures. In such a challenging field, this volume is a rare achievement: it combines analytical depth and methodological innovation with a thematic breadth that weaves together institutional origins, intergenerational persistence, spatial perspectives, and policy options. Edited and written by some of the brightest economists in Europe and the Americas working on these issues, this book will be essential reading for anyone interested in poverty or inequality in Latin America."
Francisco H. G. Ferreira, Development Research Group, World Bank
"This book makes the unique contribution of addressing fundamental policy questions—how inequalities are reproduced over time and space, what cost do high inequalities have on development, and what policies have been effective in reducing inequalities—by using highly rigorous econometric and modeling techniques. It definitely advances our scientific understanding of these vexing questions and suggests realistic policy options that provide hope for change."
—Elisabeth Sadoulet, Professor of Agriculture and Resource Economics, University of California, Berkeley