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Alta desigualdad en América Latina: desde cuándo y por qué

Javier Rodríguez Weber ()

No 51, Documentos de trabajo from Programa de Historia Económica, FCS, Udelar

Abstract: In recent years, a dense and fruitful debate on the history of inequality in Latin America has developed. The central points of the debate are: 1) the origin of Latin American inequality; 2) the role of the region’s colonial legacy; 3) whether the continent went through a period of “levelling” between 1930 and 1980; and 4) the sustainability of the recent trend towards inequality reduction. In this context, this paper has two main objectives. First, to evaluate the merits and empirical base of different positions under debate. Second, and most important, to offer a brief history of income inequality in Latin America based on the best evidence available. Thus, the paper presents an analytical narrative centered on the linkages between peripheral capitalism -to which Latin American economies moved in nineteenth century- and the institutional heritage, much of it of colonial origin. The main argument is that both changes and persistent features of inequality can be explained by the way in which the price cycles of exports interact with a political-institutional framework.

Keywords: Inequality; Latin America; Institutions; History; Peripheral capitalism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N36 O54 B52 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his and nep-hme
Date: 2018-07
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