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    This blog highlights effective ideas in the fight against poverty and exclusion, and analyzes the impact of development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Inequality in Colombia



    inequalityENGLatin America is arguably the most unequal place on earth. Inequality in Colombia is the worst in Latin-America.

    And if you are born poor in the countryside, a small town or on the coast or if you are part of an ethnic minority your prospects are even worse argue Marcela Meléndez and Francisco Ferreira in this paper.

    This paper uses the Living Quality Standards Surveys of 1997, 1998, 2008, and 2010 to offer a diagnosis of inequality in Colombia.

    It finds that, even though there has been progress over time, inequality is still large, both in absolute terms and when compared to that of other Latin American countries. When population is ranked by per capita household consumption, huge differences emerge between those at the upper and lower extremes of the distribution.

    We also show that a significant share of inequality in outcomes is determined by circumstances at birth. Parental schooling is the individual circumstance with the largest correlation with individual outcomes in their adult lives.

    People born in small municipalities, in rural areas, and in the Atlantic or Pacific regions are also at a disadvantage. When all other circumstances at birth are controlled for, gender loses importance as an explanation of inequality


    Inequality in Colombia is significantly higher than in Chile (Colombia´s Gini Coefficient a is 7 percentage points higher) or Brazil (5 percentage points), the countries that were among the most unequal in the region. This has not happened because Colombia´s inequality has worsened, but rather because it has not improved at the same pace as in those two countries

    Food for thought

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