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La economía política de la desigualdad de ingreso en Chile, 1850-2009
  • Javier E. Rodríguez Weber

This dissertation studies the relationship between income inequality and the development process, considered as the sum of economic, social and political changes produced over time. It does so using the case of Chile between 1850 and 2009. Its goals are to describe the tendencies in income distribution over time, and also to explain, signalling their causes and some of their consequences. In the empirical area, the main contributions of the dissertation are the estimates of historical series of salaries, wages, and different measures of income distribution –Gini index, Theil, labour share and the income of the top 1%. To make these estimates we relied on the methodology of ‘social tables’, which aggregates the population which receives income in categories such as occupation, having estimated the number and earnings for each category every year between 1860 and 1970. In spite of the many problems associated with the assumptions made to obtain an annual estimate, which implies an unmeasurable but undoubtedly large margin of error for each year, this methodology allows us to analyse medium-term trends with relative confidence. In the theoretical and methodological fields, the dissertation makes two main contributions. In the first place, it shows the potential of in-depth case studies as a means of analysing the relationship between development and inequality. In the second place, its focus on the political economy of inequality overcomes the problem of oversimplification which faces many studies on this subject. In fact, most studies tend to focus on one simple factor –usually either the market or institutions- and they analyse the impact on inequality in a timeless or ahistorical manner. But, as this work shows, trends in inequality are always the consequence of a set of factors -economic, social, political and institutional- which interact, in a way that each one reinforces or overrides the influence of the other. The combination of these factors, which is an outcome of the historical process, is what determines the trends in inequality over time.

  • Chile,
  • income distribution,
  • institutions,
  • inequality
Publication Date
Citation Information
Javier E. Rodríguez Weber. "La economía política de la desigualdad de ingreso en Chile, 1850-2009" (2014)
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