Boosting Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean

An IDB reports looks at boosting growth in Latin America and the Caribbean

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 shocks, combined with a lack […]

Minimum Wages and the Fight Against Inequality

Fighting inequality with minimum wages depends on gauging the circumstances and timing

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 […]

How Political Polarization Holds Latin America Back

Political polarization in Latin America leads to worse outcomes in numerous areas

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 […]

Latin America: The Story Behind Falling Inequality

Wage inequality has fallen significantly in Latin America since the early 2000s

In the early 1800s, the Prussian scientist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt wandered the streets of Latin America and wrote of his astonishment at the misery and wealth; the “nakedness” and the “luxury”, the “immense inequality of fortune.” Today, that image of inequality endures. The region, along with Sub-Saharan Africa, is the most unequal in […]

Falling Inequality: A Brazilian Whodunnit

By Julián Messina, Francisco H.G. Ferreira and Sergio Firpo Long one of the world’s most unequal countries, Brazil surprised pundits by recording a massive reduction in household income inequality in the last couple of decades. Between 1995 and 2012, the country’s Gini coefficient for household incomes fell by seven points, from 0.59 to 0.52. (For […]

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