The Economies of Latin America: New Cliometric Data

By César Yáñez; Albert Carreras | Go to book overview

5
FACTORIAL DISTRIBUTION OF INCOME IN
LATIN AMERICA, 1950–2000: NEW SERIES FROM
THE NATIONAL ACCOUNT DATA

Vicente Neira Barría


Introduction

The income factorial distribution (IFD) is a decomposition that shows the contribution of each factor, capital and labour, to total income. Based on the identities of the national accounts system, we assume the following identity:

Y = YL+YK

Where Y is the GDP at factor cost, and YL and YK represent the total amount retained by labour and capital, respectively. We can also express the identity as:

Y = Y x (LSh + KSh)

Where LSh and KSh denote the share of total income retained by each productive factor.

The IFD has recently received a great deal of attention from economists and economic historians alike for two reasons. One is that the IFD provides a long-term approximation of the distribution of income (hence, revealing issues of inequality), which complements analyses based on individual or household income. IFD can also be useful in providing information about trends in inequality when indicators of individual income are unavailable. More generally, the IFD relates directly to a number of areas of interest in macroeconomics – for instance, growth accounting.

New efforts to study the IFD in Latin American (LA) countries, using various methodological approaches, have been seen in national1 as well as comparative analyses.2 There are many reasons for this surge of interest.

First, global efforts of economic historians to provide earlier and spatially broader estimations of inequality have focused mainly on income distribution,3 and this work has provided useful estimates of IFD for a number of LatinAmerican countries.4 Second, the relative statistical wealth of Latin-American countries among peripheral economies encourages their inclusion in global data

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