The Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) has indicated that inequality in the region is “very high” and remains above other regions, with very low social mobility, for which reason it has presented its ‘Report on the Economy and Development (RED 2022)‘ in which it is evident that this low mobility represents a “serious problem” for equity and for other aspects of development in the region.
“Latin America and the Caribbean has been one of the most unequal regions in the world for decades. This remains true despite the economic and social progress of the last twenty years, which has not been enough to undo the deep roots of inequality in our region”, explained the executive president of CAF, Sergio Díaz-Granados, during the presentation of the report.
Among the reasons, the report highlights that low mobility is caused by different types of risks, which are not only associated with macroeconomic crises or the dangers of technological change, but also with the health situation or climate change.
In addition, this inequality, as CAF points out, is based on deep roots that imply a transmission from generation to generation. Specifically, the report presents evidence indicating that in Latin America opportunities are distributed very unequally among people from families of different socioeconomic levels.
Among the efforts to be made to combat this inequality, RED 2022 is committed to focusing investments on the most vulnerable population groups and on the poorest geographical areas. This targeting is “important” since the geographical location of the parents also conditions the employment opportunities of the children.
“Equalizing job opportunities requires, to a large extent, reducing inequalities between regions. Different policies can collaborate in this objective, such as those that improve basic urban infrastructure and key equipment for the provision of education, health or public safety services”, stated the co-author of the report and CAF’s chief economist, Lucila Berniell.
From the point of view set out in the report, policies that are not usually thought of as promoting social mobility become “central pieces” of the range of policies for equal opportunities. This is the case, for example, of improvements in public transport infrastructure, which have the potential to bring quality job opportunities to populations residing in disadvantaged areas and far from productive centers.
“The achievement of greater social mobility in the region is in the hands of multiple actors, both from the public and private sectors, thus imposing the great challenge of achieving the necessary consensus to expand redistributive policies that break the intergenerational ties of inequality,” concludes the report.