Why is Latin American Inequality So Extreme?

Hosted by the International Inequalities Institute

Online public event


Dr Santiago Levy

Dr Santiago Levy

Professor Nora Lustig

Professor Nora Lustig

Dr Marcela Meléndez

Dr Marcela Meléndez

Professor James Robinson

Professor James Robinson

Professor Andrés Velasco

Professor Andrés Velasco


Professor Francisco Ferreira

Professor Francisco Ferreira

For as long as data on income inequality has been available, Latin America has stood as one of the world’s two most unequal regions (along with sub-Saharan Africa). Despite some promising declines during the 2000s, inequality in many countries remains higher today than it was in the 1970s, suggesting a persistent high-inequality political economy equilibrium.

Inspired by the Deaton Review of inequality in the UK, an independent group of scholars from across many countries and disciplines – co-sponsored by the International Inequalities Institute at LSE; the InterAmerican Development Bank; Yale University; and the Institute for Fiscal Studies – is launching a five-year review of what we know – and what we need to learn – about the nature, causes and consequences of the high-inequality equilibrium in Latin America. In this public launch event, three of the Review Panel members and two eminent discussants will present and debate some of the core questions of the nascent LAC Inequality Review.

Meet our speakers and chair

Santiago Levy is a Non-resident Senior Fellow with the Global Economy and Development Program at the Brookings Institution and former president of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association. He is former Vice President for Sectors and Knowledge at the IADB.

Nora Lustig (@noralustig) is Samuel Z. Stone Professor of Latin American Economics and the founding Director of the Commitment to Equity Institute (CEQ) at Tulane University. Her research is on economic development, inequality and social policies with emphasis on Latin America.

Marcela Meléndez (@MelendezMarcela) is UNDP Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University and is an Economist from Universidad de los Andes.

James Robinson is Institute Director of The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts at the University of Chicago. His work explores the underlying relationship between poverty and the institutions of a society and how institutions emerge out of political conflicts. 

Andrés Velasco (@AndresVelasco) is Professor of Public Policy and Dean of the School of Public Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Francisco Ferreira (@fhgferreira) is the Amartya Sen Professor of Inequality Studies and Director of the International Inequalities Institute at LSE.

More about this event

The International Inequalities Institute (@LSEInequalities) at LSE brings together experts from many LSE departments and centres to lead cutting-edge research focused on understanding why inequalities are escalating in numerous arenas across the world, and to develop critical tools to address these challenges. This event marks the launch of their Latin America and Caribbean Inequality Review.

This event forms part of LSE’s Shaping the Post-COVID World initiative, a series imagining what the world could look like after the crisis, and how we get there. 

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSELACIR

Featured image (used in source code with watermark added): Photo by Leon Overweel on Unsplash

Podcast & Video

A podcast of this event is available to download from Why is Latin American Inequality So Extreme?

A video of this event is available to watch at Why is Latin American Inequality So Extreme?

Podcasts and videos of many LSE events can be found at the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.

Live captions

Automated live captions will be available at this webinar. Once you join the Zoom webinar, you will be able to show or hide the subtitles by clicking on the “Live Transcript - CC” button, from where you can also change the font size and choose to view the full transcript. Please note that this feature uses Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) technology, or machine generated transcription, and is not 100% accurate.


We aim to make all LSE events available as a podcast subject to receiving permission from the speaker/s to do this, and subject to no technical problems with the recording of the event. Podcasts are normally available 1-2 working days after the event. Podcasts and videos of past events can be found online.

Social Media

Follow LSE public events on Twitter for notification on the availability of an event podcast, the posting of transcripts and videos, the announcement of new events and other important event updates. Event updates and other information about what’s happening at LSE can be found on the LSE's Facebook page and for live photos from events and around campus, follow us on Instagram. For live webcasts and archive video of lectures, follow us on YouTube

LSE in Pictures is a selection of images taken by the school photographer.

From time to time there are changes to event details so we strongly recommend that if you plan to attend this event you check back on this listing on the day of the event.