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?
Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean has been disappointing. For commodity exporters, the exceptional 2002-2012 boom boosted investment and relaxed fiscal constraints, but many countries made little progress on improving underlying productivity and their medium-term growth potential. In other countries, particularly some in the Caribbean and Central America, negative … [Read more...] about Boosting Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean
Many policymakers say minimum wage hikes are crucial to reducing inequality. They look at Latin America and see abundant evidence, including the fact that in various countries large minimum wage increases during the commodity boom of the 2000s coincided with large inequality declines. There is certainly some truth to the idea. Minimum wage increases during times of strong … [Read more...] about Minimum Wages and the Fight Against Inequality
To work in the informal sector, as roughly half of Latin Americans do, is to labor in the shadows. It often means working for firms that neither register with authorities, pay taxes or abide by labor regulations. It is to be deprived of health insurance and contributory pensions. And it generally means limited career advancement, as most firms employing informal workers do … [Read more...] about When Less Informality Means Less Inequality
There are countries where there is a great deal of consensus on issues of national importance, and countries where that consensus is lacking, where the population is divided, distrustful of political opponents, and unwilling to compromise. The latter are polarized societies, and their cleavages lead to worse outcomes in a whole gamut of areas, ranging from greater insecurity … [Read more...] about How Political Polarization Holds Latin America Back