How much does the 1%
earn in Latin America?
We don’t know.
By Nora Lustig
E AMERICAS IN TH
ATTER OF A M
E TOP TH
What is the income share of the re- gion’s super-rich? It may be hard to believe, but this
question can be answered only
for Canada and the United States.
Thanks to the tax transparency of
these two countries and the herculean work undertaken by the Top Incomes Project, we know the share
of income received by the richest individuals since 1913 in the U.S. and
since 1920 in Canada. 1 The top 1 percent’s share of national earnings in
the U. S. can be seen in the graph on
the next page.
Unfortunately, for Latin America and the Caribbean no such information exists.
Much has been said about the
good news of declining inequality in
the region. 2 Yet the information we
use for all these analyses comes from
household surveys. The problem is
Americas Quarterly SPRING 2012