OECD Development Centre Working Papers

The OECD Development Centre links OECD members with developing and emerging economies and fosters debate and discussion to seek creative policy solutions to emerging global issues and development challenges. This series of working papers is intended to disseminate the OECD Development Centre’s research findings rapidly among specialists in the field concerned. These papers are generally available in the original English or French, with a summary in the other language.

English, French

Distribution and Growth in Latin America in an Era of Structural Reform

The Impact of Globalisation

Latin America has long had the most unequally distributed income in the world because of land ownership patterns, development and education policies and demography, which have swelled the supply of unskilled labour and demand for skilled workers, leading to widening inequality. Import substitution produced high growth but also high inequality and led to a debt crisis. But globalisation reforms in the 1990s did not reduce inequality and sometimes increased it. Now, because of poor export performance, the priority is the tricky problem of how to boost the growth rate. The aim should be to absorb as much of the region’s excess of unskilled labour as possible, especially through construction and agriculture. Growth with equity should also focus on supporting and investing in backward regions. But the long-term key is education, which will narrow skill differentials, reduce inequality and increase the growth rate ...


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