In Declining Inequality in Latin America: A Decade of Progress? (Brookings Press, 2010) editors Felipe López-Calva and Nora Lustig bring together leading scholars and policymakers to examine the decline of inequality in the region. Since the late 1990s, income concentration has fallen throughout Latin America. The book’s contributors take an in-depth look at four countries—Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Peru—to determine the primary impetus to this trend. The book reveals two leading factors that may account for the reduced inequality: the narrowing of the earnings gap between skilled and low-skilled workers and the increase of government transfers to the poor.
On June 14, the Latin America Initiative at Brookings hosted Nora Lustig, one of the book’s editors and contributors, to present its findings. Her presentation was followed by a panel discussion with Francisco H.G. Ferreira of the World Bank and Santiago Levy of Brookings and the Inter-American Development Bank. Brookings Senior Fellow Mauricio Cárdenas, director of the Latin America Initiative, also served as a panelist and moderated the discussion, which focused on what the lessons learned are for policymakers looking to continue this positive trend.