A Lecture Delivered by Prof. Diego Sánchez-Ancochea of Oxford University Held at IIAS

On the evening of November 9th, 2020, Prof. Diego Sánchez-Ancochea, Head of the Department of International Development and Professor of Development Political Economics of Oxford University, gave an online lecture titled “The Costs of Inequality: Lessons and Warnings from Latin America” to doctorate candidates at Institute of International and Area Studies, Tsinghua University (IIAS-THU) and scholars interested in Latin American studies from IIAS and beyond. More than 120 participants from home and abroad attended this event.

Prof. Sánchez-Ancochea reviewed the costs of income inequality in Latin America from multiple dimensions, involving political, economic and social aspects. He focused on the history and status quo of educational inequality in the region and its economic consequences. By comparing the amount of wealth held by the richest 1%, he clearly illustrated the widespread inequality in Latin American countries. Prof. Sánchez-Ancochea stressed that income inequality has profoundly affected the political ecology in Latin America, and political elites who hold a large amount of resources have further strengthened the unequal model of income distribution through institutional arrangements such as taxation. He pointed out that in Latin America, income inequality has caused many social consequences, ranging from frequent violence, social differentiation to lack of mutual trust among the people. Prof. Sánchez-Ancochea also mentioned that the analysis of inequality is helpful to understand the long-term development of Latin America and gain practical insights and lessons.

During the Q&A session, doctoral students from IIAS and participating scholars raised a number of questions and held heated discussions with the speaker on the development issues in Latin America. In addition, the participants also explored the multi-dimensional effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on Latin America and discussed some other issues, including the impact of over-centralized production structure and global value chains on inequality as well as the unequal distribution of high-quality educational resources prevalent in the region.

Prof. Diego Sánchez-Ancochea is Head of the Department of International Development and Professor of Development Political Economics of Oxford University. He formerly served as Director of the Latin American Centre at Oxford University and Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Latin American Studies. Prof. Sánchez-Ancochea has long cooperated extensively with various international institutions, including the International Labour Organization, the United Nations Development Programme and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. His research interest covers the political and economic studies in Latin America, especially in Central America, focusing on the factors leading to inequality and the role of social policies in minimizing inequality. He is the author of The Quest for Universal Social Policy in the South: Actors, Ideas and Architectures, Handbook of Central American Government, The Political Economy of the Budget in the Americas and other publications.

Text by: Xu Shuai
Edited by: Wang Shi’ao