How’s life in Latin America? Deepening inequalities and hard-won gains at risk


By Romina Boarini, Director of the OECD WISE Centre (Centre for Well-being, Inclusion, Sustainability and Equal Opportunity) and Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir, Director of OECD Development Centre


The Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region has experienced considerable gains in well-being over the past two decades, according to the new report How’s Life in Latin America? Measuring Well-being for Policy Making by the OECD Centre on Well-being, Inclusion, Sustainability and Equal Opportunity (WISE) and the OECD Development Centre. The eleven countries studied in the report – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay – have experienced many improvements in quality of life since the early 2000s such as increased life expectancy, reduced child and maternal mortality, and better access to drinking water. The number of people in absolute poverty (i.e. those whose income is not enough to meet basic needs such as food or shelter) has declined – from 1 in 3 in 2006 to 1 in 5 by 2019 – and the share of the population with an upper secondary education has risen from 34% to 46%.  

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¿Cómo va la vida en América Latina? Se agudizan las desigualdades y peligran los logros alcanzados


Por Romina Boarini, Directora del Centro para el Bienestar, Inclusión, Sostenibilidad e Igualdad de Oportunidades de la OCDE y Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir, Directora del Centro de Desarrollo de la OCDE


La región de América Latina y el Caribe (ALC) ha experimentado un aumento considerable del bienestar en las últimas dos décadas, según el nuevo informe ¿Cómo va la vida en América Latina? Medición del bienestar para la formulación de políticas públicas, elaborado por el Centro de Bienestar, Inclusión, Sostenibilidad e Igualdad de Oportunidades (WISE) y el Centro de Desarrollo de la OCDE. Los once países estudiados en el informe – Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, México, Paraguay, Perú, República Dominicana y Uruguay – han experimentado muchas mejoras en la calidad de vida desde principios de la década de 2000, como el aumento de la esperanza de vida, la reducción de la mortalidad infantil y materna y un mejor acceso al agua potable. El número de personas en situación de pobreza absoluta (es decir, aquellas cuyos ingresos no son suficientes para satisfacer necesidades básicas como la alimentación o la vivienda) ha disminuido – de 1 de cada 3 en 2006 a 1 de cada 5 en 2019 – y la proporción de la población con educación secundaria superior ha aumentado del 34% al 46%. 

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Can ecological modernisation bring about a just transition?


By Giovanni Carrosio, Professor of Environmental Sociology at University of Trieste, member of Forum on Inequality and Diversity & Lorenzo De Vidovich, Research Fellow in Ecowelfare Studies at University of Trieste


Some 1.4 billion people in the world are affected by energy poverty. Fifty million of these people are European citizens. Being unable to or facing constraints in satisfying basic needs such as cooking, lighting and heating, affect people’s quality of life and social mobility by exacerbating other forms of inequality. Energy poverty can have negative impacts on the quality of and access to education, can worsen people’s health, and can more generally limit peoples’ means of improving their living conditions. However policies to combat climate change and drive the ecological transition are often socially blind and perpetuate social inequalities. The eco-welfare framework can be used as a policy tool to align the ecological transition with social justice.

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How Brazil’s schools are overcoming education inequalities through student-centred learning

By Camila Pereira, Director of Education, Lemann Foundation


With over 180,000 schools closed from March 2020 to August 2021, remote learning became the only option for Brazil’s 47 million students. Despite huge efforts by educators, public officials and families to support children while they were away from classrooms, a big impact on learning is expected. Brazilian education has long suffered from deeply entrenched inequalities and gaps that have been worsened by COVID-19. What solutions are needed for Brazil to overcome these inequalities?

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Inégalités et migrations internationales : garantir des avantages pour tous dans l’après-pandémie

Par Jason Gagnon, Économiste du développement, Centre de développement de l’OCDE

Read this blog in English

La pandémie de COVID-19 a bouleversé les migrations internationales. Selon les Nations Unies, on comptait 272 millions de migrants internationaux dans le monde en 2019, soit 3.5 % de la population mondiale, ce qui reflétait une augmentation constante au fil des ans. Cependant, depuis le début de la crise, les migrations ont considérablement diminué. En raison des restrictions, l’accueil d’étrangers dans les pays de l’OCDE a chuté de 46 %. Dans les pays du Conseil de coopération du Golfe (CCG), et dans de nombreuses autres régions du monde, les tendances vont dans le même sens. Et la baisse générale des flux migratoires devrait se poursuivre en 2021.

Continue reading “Inégalités et migrations internationales : garantir des avantages pour tous dans l’après-pandémie”

Inequalities and international migration: securing benefits for all post COVID-19

By Jason Gagnon, Development economist, OECD Development Centre

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The COVID-19 pandemic has turned international migration on its head. According to the United Nations, there were 272 million international migrants in the world in 2019, reflecting a steady rise over the years, reaching 3.5% of the global population. However, since the start of the crisis, migration has decreased significantly. Due to restrictions, admission of foreigners to OECD countries has fallen by 46%. In the Gulf Co-operation Council countries, and many other parts of the world, the trends point in the same direction. The general fall in migration flows is likely to continue in 2021.

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We know what policies can fix the COVID-19 inequality emergency. But only people power can win them

By Ben Phillips, Advisor to the United Nations, governments and civil society organisations, former Campaigns Director for Oxfam and for ActionAid, and co-founder of  the Fight Inequality Alliance. He is the author of “How to Fight Inequality


This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.

COVID-19 did not create the inequality crisis. But COVID-19 is seeing inequality metastasise into the most socially dangerous global emergency since World War II.  The problem is clear. The OECD Secretary-General has rightly drawn the analogy with the Post-War reconstruction and Marshall Plan to illustrate the level of ambition needed. Opening the OECD conference on “Confronting Planetary Emergencies”, President Michael D Higgins of Ireland set out the need for a “radical departure” from “decades of unfettered neoliberalism” which have left people “without protection as to basic necessities of life, security and the ability to participate”. As he noted, “it is no longer sufficient to describe, however brilliantly, systemic failure. We must have the courage to speak out and work for the alternatives.”

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The unreal dichotomy in COVID-19 mortality between high-income and developing countries

By Philip Schellekens, Senior Economic Advisor to the Office of the CEO – International Finance Corporation, and Diego Sourrouille, Financial Sector Analyst, Finance, Competitiveness & Innovation Global Practice – World Bank


This blog * is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.


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Photo: Brookings.edu – Reuetrs \ Marko Djurica

Here’s a striking statistic: Low-income and lower-middle income countries (LICs and LMICs) account for almost half of the global population but they make up only 2 percent of the global death toll attributed to COVID-19. We think this difference is unreal.

Views about the severity of the pandemic have evolved a lot since its outbreak in Wuhan. First, we thought it was just China. But in a matter of weeks, 3.5 million people in 210 countries and territories had become infected. A local epidemic became a full-scale pandemic, entire countries were locked down, and now the world faces the prospect of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Will we soon have to adjust our views again? Will the burden of COVID-19 mortality soon travel in a different direction? Will new epicenters emerge outside of the high-income world? Is this just the beginning for the developing world? To begin addressing these questions, it is useful to first analyze the reported data and get a better feel for the contrasts and inequalities. Continue reading “The unreal dichotomy in COVID-19 mortality between high-income and developing countries”

Time for bold initiatives to tackle inequalities and climate change

By Filippos Pierros, Minister-Counsellor, Vice-Chair of the Development Assistance Committee and the Development Centre Governing Board [i]

Green-deal-climate-change

With the resounding failure of the UN COPs to mobilize a strong international response to climate change and inequality, concerned citizens around the world are rightly beginning to show frustration and even anger. And yet, at long last on the final year before the turn of the decade, a major high-income donor of international aid publicly proclaimed it would step up to the plate and propose radical change.

The new EU Commission promised to bring to the floor a “European Green Deal” that will drastically transform the very foundations of the EU economy. The green deal has clear implications for fighting inequalities, as well as for development. The “EU can use its influence, expertise and financial resources to mobilize its neighbors and partners to join it on a sustainable path.” The EU announces a strong “green deal diplomacy” focused on supporting sustainable development globally, engaging countries to end fossil fuel subsidies, phasing out fossil-fuel based infrastructure, investing in climate finance and climate resilience, promoting green regulations, and creating an international carbon market to provide reform incentives. Continue reading “Time for bold initiatives to tackle inequalities and climate change”

The Case for Gender-Smart Work Policies: Key to Equality, Good for Business

LJD

By Sandie Okoro, Senior Vice President and World Bank Group General Counsel


This blog is part of a special series exploring subjects at the core of the Human-Centred Business Model (HCBM). The HCBM seeks to develop an innovative – human-centred – business model based on a common, holistic and integrated set of economic, social, environmental and ethical rights-based principles. Read more about the HCBM here, and check out an event about it here

The HCBM project originated in 2015 within the World Bank’s Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development and is now based at the OECD’s Development Centre

This blog is also part of a special series marking the launch of the updated
2019 Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI)


We have witnessed numerous efforts to enhance gender equality throughout the past decade. Legal reforms are taking place worldwide, and discriminatory laws are slowly being struck down in favour of parity.[1] But despite developments in employment laws, inequality persists. Women’s labour participation has been stagnant, and last year, the already low number of female CEOs tumbled even further.[2] As the provider of 90% of jobs worldwide,[3] the private sector plays a significant role in the push for gender equality in employment. By adopting gender-smart policies, companies may be able to fill the gaps unaddressed by laws and minimise the impacts of inequality in the workplace. Although not all women work in these institutions, such policies are nonetheless impactful for those who do and could set in motion a new and replicable culture of work – one that is both business-smart and more gender-inclusive. Continue reading “The Case for Gender-Smart Work Policies: Key to Equality, Good for Business”