Chapter

Improving Measurement of Latin American Inequality and Poverty with an Eye to Equitable Growth Policy 1

Albert Berry

in Debates on the Measurement of Global Poverty

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199558032
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191721335 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199558032.003.0013

Series: Initiative for Policy Dialogue

Improving Measurement of Latin American Inequality and Poverty with an Eye to Equitable Growth Policy  1

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Major improvements in the quality and frequency of data on income and consumption distribution in Latin American countries have provided an adequate base for assessing trends and analysing the factors (including policies) that have an impact on inequality, except in cases where conclusions are likely to depend substantially on the hardest-to-measure or least frequently measured components of income or consumption. These are capital income, accruing mainly to upper income groups (including income from the appreciation of assets), and consumption of public goods. Until household surveys are greatly improved from their present levels, other types of information will remain the main source on capital income, e.g., tax-related information. Arguably the highest potential payoff among the easily feasible improvements to the database on inequality is in the panel area, though success requires expertise inside or outside the data collection agency to keep it going. A major payoff to improvements in the information on inequality is the more efficient testing of hypotheses about the determination of distribution and its changes. Some of the required information is not related to distribution per se but rather to the phenomena whose causal links to inequality we seek to establish. Given the amount of information that falls in this category, some sort of rotating special module system is often called for. At this point it appears likely that extension of the distribution-relevant database in this direction is the highest priority in many countries.

Keywords: income distribution; consumption distribution; distribution-relevant database; special module system; tax-related information

Chapter.  17831 words. 

Subjects: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics

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