Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-2pzkn Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-26T13:08:51.870Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Economic Inequality and Political Power: A Comparative Analysis of Argentina and Brazil

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

James K. Galbraith
University of Texas at Austin
Laura T. Spagnolo
University of Texas at Austin
Sergio Pinto
Getulio Vargas Foundation


In this paper we analyze the distribution of pay and changing trends of inequality in Argentina and Brazil, illuminating the specific winners and losers, by region and by economic activity (sector). In both countries we find that inequality rose in the neoliberal period, but that it declined following the severe crises of neoliberal policy, in 1993 in Brazil and in late 2001 in Argentina. This period of post-neoliberalism is characterized in both countries by a decline in the economic weight of the financial sector and a recovery of the position of the civil service. In both countries, the rise in inequality leading to the crisis produced an increase in the relative position of the major metropolitan centers; this positional advantage also declined modestly in the post-crisis recovery period.

Copyright © V.K. Aggarwal 2007 and published under exclusive license to Cambridge University Press 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Argentine Congress. 1993. Creation of the Integrated System of Retirement and Pension Benefits. Act: 24.241. Published in Boletin Oficial, No 27.745.Google Scholar
Argentine Congress. Convertibility Law, 1991. Act: 23.928. Published in Boletin Oficial, No 27.104.Google Scholar
Buenos Aires City Website. Producto Bruto Geográfico de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Informe 101. Dirección General de Estadísticas y Censos. December 2003.Google Scholar
De la Torre, Augusto; Yeyati, Levy, and Schmukler, Sergio. 2002. “Argentina's Financial Crisis: Floating Money, Sinking Banking,World Bank.Google Scholar
Galbraith, James K. and Berner, Maureen, eds. 2001. Inequality and Industrial Change: A Global View. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Galbraith James, K., Conceição, Pedro, and Bradford, Peter. 2001. “The Theil Index in Sequences of Nested and Hierarchical Grouping Structures: Implications for the Measurement of Inequality Through Time, With Data Aggregated at Different Levels of Industrial Classification.” Eastern Economic Journal, 27 (4): 491514.Google Scholar
Galbraith, James K. and Hyunsub, Kum. 2005. “Estimating the Inequality of Household Incomes: Toward a Dense and Consistent Global Data Set,Review of Income and Wealth, 51 (1): 115143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gasparini, Leonardo. 1999. “Un análisis de la distribución del ingreso en la Argentina sobre la base de descomposiciones.” La Distribución del Ingreso en la Argentina. Buenos Aires: Fundación de Investigaciones Económicas Latinoamericanas (FIEL).Google Scholar
Gasparini, Leonardo. 2004. “Poverty and Inequality in Argentina: Methodological Issues and a Literature Review.” Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS)-World Bank.Google Scholar
Sala-i-Martin, Xavier S. 2006. “The World Distribution of Income: Falling Poverty and Convergence, Period.” Quarterly Journal of Economics, CXXI, 2, 351397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar