Poverty, Inequality, and Segregation in the Metropolitan Region of Chile (Pobreza, Desigualdad Y Segregación en La Región Metropolitana)
Claudio A. Agostini
Universidad Adolfo Ibañez
January 29, 2010
In general, there seems to be a basic consensus on how to measure poverty and inequality. For this reason there is a general agreement with respect to their levels and evolution over time, with respect to Chile and also to the city of Santiago. However, there is no such agreement with respect to segregation. There are several definitions and indicators to measure it. Additionally, in the case of Chile there are no reliable data to consider its evolution over time. Nevertheless, the general perception with respect to Santago is that it is a very segregated city, which has many negative effects. In general, there are no good arguments to conclude that geographic segregation is always bad. In fact, there are several cases in which it might be good or neutral. The empirical evidence in the economic literature shows two particular cases in which segregation has negative effects: the poor and ethnic or racial minorities. For this reason, a relevant analysis for the city of Santiago should try to measure segregation based on income and, especially, poverty. The main goal of this paper is to contribute to such analysis. The empirical evidence presented shows that reality is not as bad as the perception with respect to Santiago: the city is less segregated than before. Quality of life has improved in several ways and differences across counties within the city have decreased significantly. An important exception is human capital levels, where significant differences still exist. It's for this reason that poverty and education should have a higher priority than segregation in the public debate and design of public policies.
Note: Downloadable document is in Spanish.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 42
Keywords: Poverty, Inequality, Segregation, Santiago, Chile
JEL Classification: I32, D31, D63, O10, O15
Date posted: May 18, 2010 ; Last revised: June 3, 2010