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World Bank Publications
Inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean: Breaking with History? / Edition 1

Inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean: Breaking with History? / Edition 1


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With the exception of Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean has been one of the regions of the world with the greatest inequality.
Inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean: Breaking with History? explores why the region suffers from such persistent inequality, identifies how it hampers development, and suggests ways to achieve greater equity in the distribution of wealth, incomes and opportunities. The study draws on data from 20 countries based on household surveys covering 3.6 million people, and reviews extensive economic, sociological and political science studies on inequality in Latin America.

To address the deep historical roots of inequality in Latin America, and the powerful contemporary economic, political and social mechanisms that sustain it, Inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean outlines four broad areas for action by governments and civil society groups to break this destructive pattern:

Build more open political and social institutions, that allow the poor and historically subordinate groups to gain a greater share of agency, voice and power in society.
Ensure that economic institutions and policies seek greater equity, through sound macroeconomic management and equitable, efficient crisis resolution institutions, that avoid the large regressive redistributions that occur during crises, and that allow for saving in good times to enhance access by the poor to social safety nets in bad times.
Increase access by the poor to high-quality public services, especially education, health, water and electricity, as well as access to farmland and the rural services. Protect and enforce the property rights of the urban poor.
Reform income transfer programs so that they reach the poorest families.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780821356654
Publisher: World Bank Publications
Publication date: 04/28/2004
Series: Latin America and Caribbean Studies
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 396
Product dimensions: 8.25(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.81(d)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1Introduction: Motivation and Conceptual Framework17
1.1A conceptual framework18
1.2The consequences of high inequality24
Part IThe Nature of Inequality in Latin America33
Chapter 2Different Lives: Inequality in Latin America35
2.1Some conceptual issues35
2.2Income inequality and beyond37
2.3Measurement-related issues and data limitations48
2.4Inequality in Latin America in perspective53
2.5Looking inside household income57
2.6Inequality beyond income66
Chapter 3Group-Based Inequalities: The Roles of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender77
3.1Who are the people of Latin America?78
3.2Inequality among individuals during the lifecycle84
3.3Would income inequality decline if returns to human capital were more equal?96
Part IIThe Determinants of Inequality in Latin America107
Chapter 4Historical Roots of Inequality in Latin America109
4.1Factor endowments, inequality, and institutions109
4.2The persistence of inequality: The colonial period112
4.3The persistence of inequality: Post-independence112
4.4The 20th century120
4.5The 21st century and beyond122
Chapter 5State-Society Interactions as Sources of Persistence and Change in Inequality123
5.1Political and social structures as forces for the reproduction of inequality125
5.2The potential for equalizing political and social change134
Chapter 6Economic Mechanisms for the Persistence of High Inequality in Latin America149
6.1Asset distributions: Education and land151
6.2Job match quality157
6.3Remuneration in the labor markets161
6.4Household formation165
Part IIIPolicies for Lower Inequality175
Chapter 7Policies on Assets and Services177
7.2Property rights, land, and housing189
7.3Infrastructure services and the distributional impact of privatization204
Chapter 8Policies on Markets and Institutions217
8.1Markets and inequality217
8.2Labor market policies and inequality224
8.3Inequality and macroeconomic crises227
Chapter 9Taxation, Public Expenditures, and Transfers247
9.1Taxes and distribution248
9.2Public social spending and distribution257
9.3Cash transfers and distribution268
Statistical Appendix285
Chapter 1
1.1Measuring inequality of opportunities in Brazil20
Chapter 2
2.1Social class46
2.2Mobility in Latin America: What little is known?51
2.3Some simple decompositions63
2.4Social capital and trust66
2.5Disability and distribution70
Chapter 3
3.1Distribution of the population of the Americas: An historical evolution79
3.2Todos Contamos: National census and social inclusion80
3.3The challenge of racial, ethnic, and gender identification and measurement82
3.4What if we do hold "all else constant?"85
3.5Women's other job: Housework90
3.6Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition methodology94
3.7Econometric methodology98
Chapter 5
5.1Racial inequality and social spending: Evidence from the United States and Europe128
5.2Clientelism and the underprovision of public services in the Dominican Republic131
5.3Are there political and social reasons for the contrast between Latin America and East Asia?133
5.4Political agency and the potential for redistributive strategy in rich countries: Lessons from the OECD135
5.5Increased equity through taxation and social spending in a democratic Chile136
5.6Failed redistributive efforts in a fragmented democracy: Social security reforms in Brazil138
5.7Neopopulism and policies on social funds in Peru139
5.8Transition at the sectoral level? Mexico's targeted antipoverty programs141
5.9Popular budgeting in Porto Alegre: Explaining a transition to a new political equilibrium142
5.10Local contexts and the transition from clientelism: Ibague versus Pasto144
Chapter 6
6.1Schematic representation of household income determination150

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