RHE 2010 n. 02 otoño

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Archivo Abierto Institucional de la Universidad Carlos III de Madrid: RHE V.28 Nº2 otoño 2010. Special Issue on Latin American Inequality


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  • Publication
    Latin American Inequality in the Long Run : editor's note
    (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Laureano Figuerola, 2010-09) Bertola Flores, Luis Eduardo; Prados de la Escosura, Leandro; Williamson, Jeffrey G.
    This special issue of the Revista de Historia Económica / Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History contains a selection of papers originally presented at the conference «A Comparative Approach to Inequality and Development: Latin America and Europe» organized by the three authors of this introduction. The conference was supported by the Instituto Figuerola (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid), and it met at the Fundación Ramón Areces on May 8-9, 2009. The conference was sponsored by the GlobalEuroNet- Research Networking Programme of the European Science Foundation, the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (Acciones Complementarias), Fundación Ramón Areces and the HI-POD Project. Each of the papers published here has undergone the journal's usual blind peer review process. Inequality has been a topic of intensive research and debate over the last decade, especially in Latin America. The aim of the conference was to put the recent Latin American experience with inequality in the long-term perspective of many centuries, and to promote a comparative analysis. Compared with Europe and other parts of the periphery, has inequality really been a distinctive aspect of Latin American development since the arrival of the Iberian conquerors? What form has it taken? Has it made an important contribution to the region's disappointing growth performance over the 20th century?
  • Publication
    Between the colonial heritage and the first globalization boom: on income inequality in the Southern Cone
    (2010-09) Bertola Flores, Luis Eduardo; Castelnovo, Cecilia; Rodriguez Arroyo, Javier; Willebald Remedios, Henry Francisco
    This paper presents a first estimate of income inequality in the Southern Cone of South America (Brazil 1872 and 1920, Chile 1870 and 1920, Uruguay 1920) and some assumptions with regard to Argentina (1870 and 1920) and Uruguay (1870). We find that income distribution was relatively high on the eve of the first globalization boom. Thus, inequality is not only the result of globalization, but also a structural feature. Inequality increased between 1870 and 1920, both within individual countries and between countries. Globalization forces do not result in obvious outcomes. Rather, the effect of globalization on inequality depends on the expansion of the frontier and institutional persistence and change in old and new areas. Inequality was clearly high in the wake of the globalization process. This was a particular kind of inequality, which was part of a set of institutions closely linked to the exports of primary goods, sluggish technological change and limited human capital formation.
  • Publication
    The unequal lag in Latin American schooling since 1900: follow the money
    (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Laureano Figuerola, 2010-09) Lindert, Peter H.
    Focusing on education–income anomalies, in which a richer country delivers less education than a poorer country, seems a promising way to harvest a part of the rich history that does not lend itself to econometrics. To test the chain of alleged causation from unequal power and wealth to poor schooling, one must follow the public money, or lack of it, in as many contexts as the data will allow. Public funding for mass schooling is the hitherto untested middle link in the chain. The key to Latin America’s poor schooling was the failure to supply tax money, not gender discrimination or any shortfall in market demand for skills. The most glaring anomalies were the Venezuelan and Argentine failures to supply the levels of tax support for mass schooling that their high income could have afforded.
  • Publication
    Reconstructing labor income shares in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, 1870-2000
    (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Laureano Figuerola, 2010-09) Frankema, Ewout
    The labor income share in national income is a good indicator of the extent to which the working classes are able to reap the fruits of economic growth or, conversely, bear the burden of economic stagnation. This paper aims to reconstruct the labor income share of Argentina, Brazil and Mexico in a three-sector framework, including the rural, the urban formal and the urban informal sectors. We find that in all three countries the share of labor earnings peaked in the middle of the 20th century. Fluctuations in the Brazilian and Mexican labor income shares were large, with a sharp decline in the post-1961 and post-1976 periods, respectively. In Argentina, the labor income shares tended to be more constant at levels around 50 per cent, testifying to a more stable and egalitarian distribution of income.
  • Publication
    Globalization and educational inequality during the 18th to 20th centuries: Latin America in global comparison
    (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Laureano Figuerola, 2010-09) Baten, Joerg; Mumme, Christina
    This paper explores the inequality of numeracy and education by studying school years and numeracy of the rich and poor, as well as of tall and short individuals. To estimate numeracy, the age-heaping method is used for the 18th to early 20th centuries. Testing the hypothesis that globalization might have increased the inequality of education, we find evidence that 19th century globalization actually increased inequality in Latin America, but 20th century globalization had positive effects by reducing educational inequality in a broader sample of developing countries. Moreover, we find strong evidence for Kuznets’s inverted U hypothesis, that is, rising educational inequality with GDP per capita in the period until 1913 and the opposite after 1945.
  • Publication
    Colonial Origins of Inequality in Hispanic America? Some Reflections Based on New Empirical Evidence
    (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Laureano Figuerola, 2010-09) Dobado González, Rafael; García Montero, Héctor
    This paper attempts to contribute to the ongoing debate on the historical roots of the high economic inequality of contemporary Iberian America. Our approach, which is basically empirical, departs from the mainstream scholarship. We show new data on wages and heights in several viceroyalties that (1) suggest relatively medium-to-high levels of material welfare among the commoners in Bourbon Hispanic America; and (2) allow us to build indexes of economic inequality. An international comparison of those indexes casts some doubts on the widely accepted view that Viceroyal America’s economy was exclusively based on extremely unequal or extractive institutions, as it has been popularized by the influential works by Engerman and Sokoloff and Acemoglu et al.
  • Publication
    Five centuries of Latin American income inequality
    (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Laureano Figuerola, 2010-09) Williamson, Jeffrey G.
    Most analysts of the modern Latin American economy believe that it has always had very high levels of inequality. Indeed, some have argued that high inequality appeared very early in the post-conquest Americas, and that this fact supported rent-seeking and anti-growth institutions that help explain the disappointing growth performance we observe there even today. This paper argues to the contrary. Compared with the rest of the world, Latin American inequality was not high either in pre-conquest 1491 or in the post-conquest decades following 1492. Indeed, it was not even high in the mid-19th century just before Latin America’s belle e´poque. It only became high thereafter. Historical persistence in Latin American inequality is a myth.