Red de Desarrollo Social de América Latina y el Caribe
Plataforma virtual para la difusión de conocimiento sobre desarrollo social

The social inequality matrix in Latin America


Autor institucional : ECLAC
Autor/Autores: ECLAC
Fecha de publicación: Octubre 2016
Alcance geográfico: Latinoamericano
Publicado en: Chile
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Resumen: This document presents an analysis that deals with some of the axes that serve to structure the region s deep and persistent social inequality. This reflection falls within the framework of the analysis conducted by ECLAC in the document "Compacts for Equality: Towards a Sustainable Future", which examines the various facets of inequality and addresses the different equality gaps in resources and incomes, capabilities (education, nutrition, access to information technologies and durable goods) and gender. The present document seeks to bring new elements into this analysis and represents a further step in the process of analysis and reflection needed to understand a highly complex phenomenon: social inequality, its causes, its characteristics and its mechanisms of reproduction and persistence over time. ECLAC will carry on working, in constant dialogue with the region s development stakeholders, to include the different dimensions of inequality in this formulation. Latin America s social inequality matrix is heavily conditioned by its production matrix, which is characterized in turn by great structural heterogeneity. Thus, the first and most basic determinant of inequality is social class (or socioeconomic stratum). Nonetheless, gender, racial, ethnic and territorial inequalities and those connected to the different stages of the life cycle are also axes of this matrix and crucial determinants of the size and reproduction of the gaps identified in some of the main areas of social development and the exercise of rights, such as income levels and access to production resources, education, health care, decent work, social protection and opportunities for participation, among others. The axes structuring the social inequality matrix intersect, reinforcing and linking up with one another throughout the life cycle and giving rise to a multiplicity of inequality or discrimination factors that operate simultaneously or cumulatively over time. The confluence of multiple types of inequality and discrimination characterizes the “hard cores” of poverty, vulnerability and social exclusion, entrenching and reproducing them.



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