Friday, June 02, 2017

Income Inequality in Latin America

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean just released its report on income inequality. There is actually some good news in there. Highlights:

  1.  Income inequality has done down from 2008-2015 across the region.
  2. Venezuelan inequality is among the lowest in the region, but has not changed over that time. (And indeed, one issue with looking at equality is that if everyone is lacking, then equality looks quite good. Just look at Cuba during the Special Period).
  3. As always, Colombia is persistently high, but at least decreasing a bit. The displaced play a role in that figure, and we can only hope the peace process changes that dynamic.
  4. Bolivia improved from 2008-2012, then got worse from 2012-2015.
  5. If you look at physical assets, then the Gini coefficient is 0.93. In other words, beyond income the ownership gap is extreme.
  6. Social spending as a percentage of GDP is far, far lower than the U.S. or Europe.
  7. Women, indigenous people, and Afro-Latin Americans are suffering disproportionately (which should surprise no one).


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