Few measures could be more important during the current Covid-19 pandemic than ensuring that the poor and vulnerable can eat, buy medicine and pay for other basic needs as they endure a months-long shutdown essential to protecting public health. But in Latin America where about half the population works in the informal economy, that is no easy feat. Many people in the informal … [Read more...] about Covid-19: The Challenge of Ensuring Assistance to Informal and Vulnerable Workers
With more than a million people infected and tens of thousands of deaths around the world, governments are taking extreme but necessary measures to contain the coronavirus, prioritizing in almost all cases some form of social isolation or distancing. But the economic costs for everyone are not the same. The disease lays bare societies' inequalities, inflicting greater economic … [Read more...] about Social Distancing, Informality, and the Problem of Inequality
By Julián Messina, Norbert Schady, and Joana Silva Meager economic growth and high inequality are the twin curses of Latin America. But inclusive growth that fights those curses by encompassing everyone, including marginalized and vulnerable populations, is possible. It just requires the right policies. We know, of course, that this is easier said than done. Economic … [Read more...] about Moving Towards Growth and Greater Inclusion in One of the World’s Most Unequal Regions
For a long time, economists believed that inequality in the labor market could be explained fundamentally by differences in skills. Workers who were highly educated, experienced and skilled tended to be rewarded better by the labor market than workers who weren't. Firms were essentially irrelevant in this paradigm. Workers were rewarded for their productivity: It didn't matter … [Read more...] about Did Changes Among Firms Reduce Wage Inequality in Latin America?
As Joana Silva and I document in a recent book, earnings inequality declined in 16 of the 17 countries in Latin America for which consistent statistics can be calculated, although the intensity and turning points diverged across countries. For example, after a decade of stagnant or slowly increasing inequality, the 90th/10th interquantile range of the labor earnings … [Read more...] about Did Education and Job Experience Reduce Inequality in Latin America?