Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Alta Desigualdad en América Latina: desde cuándo y por qué

Rodríguez Weber, Javier (2018): Alta Desigualdad en América Latina: desde cuándo y por qué.

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Abstract

In recent years, a dense and fruitful debate on the history of inequality in Latin America has developed. The central points of the debate are: 1) the origin of Latin American inequality; 2) the role of the region’s colonial legacy; 3) whether the continent went through a period of “levelling” between 1930 and 1980; and 4) the sustainability of the recent trend towards inequality reduction. In this context, this paper has two main objectives. First, to evaluate the merits and empirical base of different positions under debate. Second, and most important, to offer a brief history of income inequality in Latin America based on the best evidence available. Thus, the paper presents an analytical narrative centered on the linkages between peripheral capitalism -to which Latin American economies moved in nineteenth century- and the institutional heritage, much of it of colonial origin. The main argument is that both changes and persistent features of inequality can be explained by the way in which the price cycles of exports interact with a political-institutional framework.

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