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February 23, 2024

Seventy-five Years of Measuring Income Inequality in Latin America

Event Series: Spotlight on the Americas


Income inequality in Latin America rose significantly from the 1970s to the 1990s and fell in the early twenty-first century. In more recent years patterns have varied from country to country. While broad trends are easy to establish, the reliability of data on income inequality is often brought into question. What can be done to capture a more accurate picture in Latin America? The Georgetown Americas Institute hosted GAI Resident Fellow Nora Lustig for a presentation of her paper “Seventy-five Years of Measuring Income Inequality in Latin America” and a discussion on the challenges to reducing inequality in the region.

This event was livestreamed to the GAI YouTube channel.


Nora Lustig is a resident fellow with the Georgetown Americas Institute and Samuel Z. Stone Professor of Latin American Economics and the founding director of the Commitment to Equity Institute (CEQ) at Tulane University. She is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, the Center for Global Development, and the Inter-American Dialogue. Lustig’s research is on economic development, inequality, and social policies with emphasis on Latin America. She is the editor of Commitment to Equity Handbook: Estimating the Impact of Fiscal Policy on Inequality and Poverty (2018), a step-by-step guide to assessing the impact of taxation and social spending on inequality and poverty in developing countries. Lustig is a founding member and president emeritus of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association (LACEA) and was a co-director of the World Bank’s World Development Report 2000, Attacking Poverty. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Economic Inequality and is a member of the Society for the Study of Economic Inequality’s Executive Council. Lustig served on the Atkinson Commission on Poverty, the High-Level Group on Measuring Economic Performance and Social Progress, and the G20 Eminent Persons Group on Global Financial Governance. She received her doctorate in economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Alejandro Werner is the founding director of the Georgetown Americas Institute and a non-resident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute. He recently completed almost nine years as director of the Western Hemisphere Department at the International Monetary Fund. Prior to that appointment, he was undersecretary of finance and public credit in Mexico’s Finance Ministry and held several positions in that ministry and the Central Bank. He also taught at leading universities in Mexico, Spain, and the United States. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.A. in economics from Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM).