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José Gabriel Palma re-examines the ‘Palma Ratio' at the IBEI

Wednesday October 26, 2016, at 15:30
Room 24.104 - Mercè Rodoreda building (1st Floor)

José Gabriel Palma (University of Cambridge)

This lecture will report on a paper published by Dr. Palma entitled "Do nations just get the inequality they deserve? The ‘Palma Ratio’ re-examined" which aims to re-examine inequality in the current era of neo-liberal globalisation, with an emphasis on both highly unequal middle-income countries that have already implemented full-blown economic reforms (like Latin America and South Africa), and on OECD countries (like the US) now intent on replicating the inequality heights of the former.

i) How do those middle-income countries end up having such unequal distributional outcomes?
ii) Since oligarchies all over the world would gladly reproduce the same conditions, why until recently have only a few been able to get away with this degree of inequality?
iii) Why are there suddenly so many new entrants to the high-inequality club, especially from the OECD?

In other words, how did Reagan and Thatcher and the fall of the Berlin Wall trigger a new process of “reverse catching-up”, by which now it is the highly-unequal middle-income countries showing the advanced ones the shape of things to come? One might even argue that in the US not only is the 1% catching up with their Latin counterparts (who are used to appropriating between a quarter and a third of overall income), but that new developments such as Trump may be part of the same phenomenon: it is now the South that seems to show the North ‘the image of their own future’.


Jose Gabriel Palma. PhD in Economy from the University of Oxford, PhD in Political Science at the University of Sussex and a Bachelor Degree in Economics from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Professor at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Cambridge and a research associate at the Universidad de Santiago and the Universidad de Valparaiso. He worked at the National Planning Office (ODEPLAN), the current Ministry of Social Development of Chile, between 1969 and 1972; he was also a research associate at the Institute of Latin American Studies of the University of London and Professor of Econometrics and Mathematical Economics from the same university. His main topics of study are the economic policies in Latin America and economic development models.

Free attendance.
Registration is required. Registration Form