PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis thesis explores the ways in which public opinion on income inequality is shaped in Latin America. The central argument is that the key to understanding public discontent lies in shifting attention from "differences in income" to "differences in ability to achieve things one has reason to value because of one's position in the income distribution." That is, two countries that appear the same in the former dimension may look entirely different in the latter - and I provide examples from Latin America to illustrate. I maintain that Latin Americans believe the inequality in their countries is too high not just because of the shape of the income distribution, but also because factors besides income - such as the provision of public goods, the strength of institutions, and cultural norms - exacerbate the impact that those income gaps have in people’s lives. Lastly, I explore the factors that may be most responsible for driving the changes in public perception of inequality in Argentina over time. The evidence hints at the possibility that Argentines may be confusing poverty with inequality.
Degree ProgramHonors College