all about politics cover 1920 x 830


All about politics? Explaining differences in inequality within the most unequal region

Hosted by the Latin America and Caribbean Centre (LACC)

Fawcett House, Room 9.05


Diego Sanchez-Ancochea

Diego Sanchez-Ancochea

Professor and Head of the Oxford Department of International Development


Ken Shadlen

Ken Shadlen

Professor and Head of the LSE Department of International Development

What explains the variance in income distribution in Latin America? Are the factors driving inequality in the whole region the same as those determining country differences?

At a time when social scientists and policy makers are increasingly concerned about inequality, the Latin American experience has become more relevant than ever. Not only is Latin America the most unequal region in the world, but it also presents some useful diversity in distributional outcomes. Argentina and Guatemala are both unequal by global standards, but their Gini post-taxes and transfers is more than 20 points apart. 

Drawing on insights from economic history and structuralist economics, the presentation will first outline a popular explanation of regional inequality. Latin America´s long term problems can be explained by the interaction between land distribution, ethnic discrimination and primary export specialization.

In the second part of the presentation, Diego will use qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) — an exciting methodology that combines case knowledge with Boolean logic to identify complex causal explanations of an outcome — to explore the constellation of factors explaining differences in income distribution between countries.

The presentation should be useful for those interested in the comparative determinants of income distribution in a development context. By combining a regional perspective with an exploration of differences between countries, it raises as many questions as it provides answers. It calls for further study of the interactions between democracy, progressive forces and income distribution. The presentation also highlights the many obstacles to move towards more equality in the future. 

Speaker: Diego Sanchez-Ancochea, Professor and Head of the Oxford Department of International Development

Chair: Ken Shadlen, Professor and Head of the LSE Department of International Development 


Follow the live Twitter coverage: #LACCInequality


Cover photo: ArtTower, 2012, Pixabay.