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Real estate and social inequality in Latin America: approaches in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Colombia

Abstract

Latin America is known as the most unequal region in the world, where extreme displays of wealth and exposure to scarcity lay bare in the urban landscape. Inequality is not just a social issue; it has considerable impact on economic development. This is because social inequality generates instability and conflict, which can create unsettling conditions for investment. At the macro level, social inequality can also present barriers to economic development, as most government policies and resources tend to be directed in solving social conflict rather than to promote and generate growth. This is one of the reasons usually cited in explaining the development gap between Latin America and other emerging economies, take East Asia for example - they have similar policies to those applied recently in Latin America, but are achieving better growth. The other reason cited is institutional; this includes governance as well as property rights and enforcement of contracts. The latter is the focus of this chapter

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