Skip to Georgetown Americas Institute Full Site Menu Skip to main content
May 7, 2024

Origins of Inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean

Favela in Brazil

Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is one of the most unequal regions in the world, along with the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa. However, we know less about the historical factors that might have led to LAC’s socioeconomic inequities and the persistent transmission of socioeconomic status across generations in Latin America. How deep are the roots of Latin America’s economic inequalities? And how prevalent is intergenerational economic inequality in the region? 

To answer these questions, the Georgetown Americas Institute is pleased to host Felipe Valencia and Francisco (Chico) Ferreira, who will present their latest papers “Origins of Latin American Inequality” and “Inequality of Opportunity and Intergenerational Persistence in Latin America.” These works are part of the Latin American and Caribbean Inequality Review (LACIR), an independent initiative hosted at the LSE International Inequalities Institute and co-sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank, the Institute of Fiscal Studies, and Yale University. The conversation will be moderated by Jenny Guardado from the Center for Latin American Studies.


Felipe Valencia is an assistant professor in the Vancouver School of Economics at the University of British Columbia. Prior to that, he worked at the Department of Economics at Bonn University. Valencia obtained his Ph.D. in economics cum laude from Universitat Pompeu Fabra in 2015 through the European Doctoral Programme. He worked as a consultant at the World Bank in Washington, DC, from 2008 to 2010 and as an analyst at Goldman Sachs in 2005. His primary research interests are in development economics, economic history, and economic growth, with an emphasis on Latin America. 

Francisco H. G. Ferreira is the Amartya Sen Professor of Inequality Studies and director of the International Inequalities Institute at the London School of Economics (LSE). Ferreira works on the measurement, causes, and consequences of inequality and poverty in developing countries. His work has been published widely and awarded various prizes. He is a research fellow of the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), an affiliated scholar with the Stone Center at CUNY, a former president of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association, and a former editor in chief of the Journal of Economic Inequality. Prior to joining the faculty at LSE, he had a long career at the World Bank but also taught at the Pontifical Catholic University ofRio de Janeiro and at the Paris School of Economics. He was born in São Paulo, Brazil, and holds a Ph.D. in economics from the LSE.

Jenny Guardado (moderator) is an assistant professor at the Center for Latin American Studies at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Prior to joining Georgetown, she received a PhD in Political Science at NYU. She spent the 2014-15 academic year as a postdoctoral scholar at the Harris School of Public Policy - University of Chicago. During the fall 2019, she visited the Department of Politics at Princeton University. Her research examines the political and economic mechanisms affecting armed conflict, corruption and economic development. The article version of her dissertation has been awarded the Pi Sigma Alpha Award for best paper presented at MPSA in 2013. Her work on land tenure in Peru was awarded the Oliver A. Williamson Prize for best paper presented at the International Society for New Institutional Economics Conference in 2014.