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Inequality in Latin America: Processes and Inputs

Patricia Justino () and Arnab Acharya ()
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Arnab Acharya: Institute of Development Studies, Universtity of Sussex

No 22, PRUS Working Papers from Poverty Research Unit at Sussex, University of Sussex

Abstract: This paper analyses the multidimensional aspects of inequality. The paper discusses the concept of inequality along three types of processes – economic (income, employment and access to physical assets), social (access to health, education and social security) and political (access to political power and to legal institutions) -, and three different dimensions – regional, rural/urban and across population groups (different gender, different ethnicity and different race). The paper examines in detail the determinants of those types and dimensions of inequality and provides a conceptual framework for explaining the incidence and persistence of inequalities in Latin America at the levels described above. This framework is illustrated in two case studies: Brazil and Peru. The paper shows how inequalities can arise from unequal distribution systems, the existence of different opportunities and choices for different population groups and forms of discrimination. It is thus argued that an effective reduction of economic, social and political inequalities in Latin America can only be achieved via the implementation of a three-tier system of policies that would include (i) the establishment of progressive tax systems, (ii) the promotion of equal opportunities and (iii) the reduction of discrimination in all areas of society.

Keywords: Social inequality; redistribution; developing countries; Brazil; Peru (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 39 pages
Date: 2003-04
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