Lena Lavinas

"Latin America: What went wrong in the decade of prosperity?"


Between 2003 and 2013, Latin America experienced an unprecedented period of combined economic growth and reduction of poverty and inequality. The causes of this were found in the favorable international context with booming commodity prices, but also macroeconomic stability and a number of progressive policies that sought to better distribute resources and incorporate many millions into the market society. Nonetheless, structural heterogeneity has not been overcome. After 2013, economic growth has stalled, whereas extractivism continues to drive exports and economic activity, with dramatic consequences for indigenous minorities and other vulnerable groups. Poverty and inequality indicators are on the rise in many countries and the wave of optimism and highs has been replaced by widespread concern about growing unemployment, political turmoil and corruption scandals. In this lecture, Brazilian economist Lena Lavinas provides insight into the economics of the possible u-turn, and links it to the political dynamics, with a starting point in her home country.



Lena Lavinas is a  Professor of Economics at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, as well as a Senior Researcher at the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPQ), and a Research Fellow at the Brazil Research Center at the Latinamerika-Institut, Freie Universität, Berlin (2015-present).

She is also attached to UNESCO, and has formerly worked for, among others, the ILO and the Institute of Research in Applied Economics (IPEA), Ministry of Planning, Brazil.




She has researched and published widely on inequality, poverty and social policy in Latin America. She is the author of a number of books, articles and edited volumes including:

A Moment of Equality for Latin America? Challenges for Redistribution (edited with Barbara Fritz, Ashgate, 2015)

Avaliando a Inclusão Digital pela Escola (Hucitec Editora, 2015)

Percepções sobre Desigualdade e Pobreza. O que pensam os brasileiros da política social? (Centro Internacional Celso Furtado para Políticas de Desenvolvimento & Folio Digital, 2014)

Her newest book is:

The Brazilian Paradox: Persistent Inequalities in the Shift Towards a Mass Consumption Society (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, forthcoming).

Published Mar. 29, 2016 2:26 PM - Last modified Aug. 8, 2016 2:10 PM