The author implements several inequality decomposition methods to measure the extent to which total household income disparities can be attributable to sectoral asymmetries and differences in skill endowments. The results show that at least half of total household inequality in Mexico is attributable to incomes derived from entrepreneurial activities, an income source rarely scrutinized in the inequality literature. He shows that education (skills) endowments are unevenly distributed among the Mexican population, with positive shifts in the market returns to schooling associated with increases in inequality. Asymmetries in the allocation of education explain around 20 percent of overall household income disparities in Mexico during the 1990s. Moreover, the proportion of inequality attributable to education endowments increases during stable periods and reduces during the crisis. This pattern is explained by shifts in returns to schooling rather than changes in the distribution of skills. Applying the same techniques to decompose within-sector income differences, the author finds that skill endowments can account for as much as 25 percent of earnings disparities but as little as 5 percent of dispersion in other income sources.
Abstract: Over the past 20 years, aggregate measures of global inequality have changed little even if significant structural changes have been observed. High growth rates of China and India lifted millions out of poverty, while the stagnation in many African countries caused them to fall behind. Using the World Bank's LINKAGE global general equilibrium model and the newly developed Global Income Distribution Dynamics (GIDD) tool, this paper assesses the distribution and poverty effects of a scenario where these trends continue in the future. Even by anticipating a deceleration, growth in China and India is a key force behind the expected convergence of per-capita incomes at the global level. Millions of Chinese and Indian consumers will enter into a rapidly emerging global middle class-a group of people who can afford, and demand access to, the standards of living previously reserved mainly for the residents of developed countries. Notwithstanding these positive developments, fast growth is often characterized by high urbanization and growing demand for skills, both of which result in widening of income distribution within countries. These opposing distributional effects highlight the importance of analyzing global disparities by taking into account - as the GIDD does - income dynamics between and within countries.
Trade liberalization can create economic opportunities for poor people. But are these opportunities available to men and women equally? Do the gender disparities in access to education, health, credit, and other resources limit the gains from trade and the potential benefits to poor women? This volume introduces the gender dimension into empirical analyses of the links between trade and poverty, which can improve policy making. The collection of chapters in this book is close to an ideal macro-micro evaluation technique that explicitly assesses the importance of gender in determining the poverty effects of trade shocks. Part I, relying on ex ante simulation approaches, focuses on the macroeconomic links between trade and gender, where labor market structure and its functioning play a key role. Part II concentrates on micro models of households and attempts to identify the ex post effects of trade shocks on household income levels and consumption choices. It also addresses questions about possible changes in inequality within households due to improved economic opportunities for women. 'Gender Aspects of the Trade and Poverty Nexus' will be invaluable to policy makers, development practitioners and researchers, journalists, and students.