Source: The Guardian
This might be a “man-bites-dog” moment for Latin America. For about a decade, researchers and policymakers have been saying that the key lesson from the world’s most unequal region is that inequality can – and in fact did – decline. This is supported by a rigorous set of data showing that from 2000 up until around 2010, income inequality unambiguously declined in 16 of 17 countries.
But new data shows the trend has stagnated across Latin America – and in some cases, there has even been an increase in the concentration of income. This analysis is based on the latest revision of household data coming from the Socioeconomic Database for Latin America and the Caribbean (Sedlac) and published by the World Bank.
Let’s start with the inequality data. The news here is not that there is a reversal in the inequality trend, but that the rate of decline is slowing down – and, in some countries, stagnating. The results show “stagnation” in the inequality trend between 2010 and 2012. Between 2000 and 2010, the regional Gini index (how the world bank measures inequality) declined on average by 0.94% per year, while in 2011 it fell by just 0.33%, and in 2012 it fell a paltry 0.02%.
The trend can also be assessed through country-to-country comparisons. Here, our own UN Development Programme (UNDP) estimates using the Sedlac data, is that Mexico and Panama, and to a lesser degree, Brazil, saw a slow in their narrowing of inequality when comparing 2002-2007 to 2007-2012. However, if we move the comparison period to 2007-2011, we can add Dominican Republic, Chile and Paraguay to the list of countries where inequality is plateauing.
To read the full article please go to: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/aug/27/inequality-latin-america-undp