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Poverty and Distributional Impact of Economic Policies and External Shocks

Three Case Studies from Latin America Combining Macro and Micro Approaches


Jann Lay

Economists have had much to say about the impact of economic policies on growth, but little on their distributional consequences and poverty impact. The reorientation of development policy from structural adjustment to poverty reduction as the central objective thus called for new tools to examine distributional change. This book analyzes the poverty and distributional impact of policy changes and external shocks in three case studies from Latin America: Trade liberalization in Colombia and Brazil, and the gas boom in Bolivia. It uses an innovative approach that combines computable general equilibrium and microsimulation models. The country applications illustrate that distributional consequences depend very much on the nature of the shock or policy change as well as the characteristics of the country in question. The book issues a warning against policy prescriptions being based on oversimplifying assumptions and models.