April 14, 2014 | Contribution by
FRANCOIS BOURGUIGNON Francois Bourguignon is a Professor of Economics (and former Director) at the Paris School of Economics and the former World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President from 2003-2007.
For Francois Bourguignon — Professor of Economics (and former Director) at the Paris School of Economics and World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President from 2003-2007 — the fascination with how to reduce poverty and inequality continues unabated. Already the recipient of many honors in economics, in fall 2013 he received LACEA's Juan Luis Londoño Prize for high quality and policy relevant research on socioeconomic issues relevant to Latin America — which still is the most unequal region in the world.
Railroad slums, Buenos Aires.
Photo credit: Flickr @jazpdx (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jazpdx/)
In Part 2 of this series, Bourguignon tells the JKP that there are a number of steps that Latin America could take to ensure that the region becomes more egalitarian. First, policy makers need a decent income tax system — with greater progressivity and a higher income tax, which is typically quite low — and to ensure that people can't evade the tax. This will help bring in more revenue from the rich, although at this point the region lacks good data on the income of the top 1 percent, which he considers a major problem. Second, armed with more receipts from a much more progressive income tax, policy makers could help those at the bottom of the income distribution by boosting educational opportunities (including at the preschool level) and improving access to healthcare and finance.