Latin American Growth-Inequality Trade-Offs: The Impact of Insurgence and Independence
NBER Working Paper No. 15680
Did independence push Latin America down a growth-inequality trade-off? During the late colonial decades, the region completed two centuries of growth unmatched anywhere and inequality reached spectacular heights. During the half century after insurgency and independence, inequality fell steeply and growth was so modest that the period is called the lost decades. With the appearance of the belle époque in the 1870s, growth rose to impressive levels, again even by world standards, and inequality surged to the highest levels ever, where they have remained for a century. This paper explores the connection.