Tuesday, May 18, 2010


IWS Documented News Service
Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach
School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies
Cornell University
16 East 34th Street, 4th floor----------------------
Stuart Basefsky
New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau


World Bank


Do Our Children Have A Chance?

The 2010 Human Opportunity Report for Latin America and the Caribbean


[full-text, 176 pages]




[full-text, 12 pages]



The HOI calculates how personal circumstances (like birthplace, wealth, race or gender) impact a child’s probability of accessing the services that are necessary to succeed in life, like timely education, running water or connection to electricity. It was first published in 2008, applied to Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The findings were eye-opening: behind the enormous inequality that characterizes the region’s distribution of development outcomes (income, land ownership and educational attainment, among others), there is an even more worrying inequality of development opportunities. It is not only rewards that are unequal; it is also chances. The problem is not just about equality; it is about equity too. The playing field is uneven from the start.


This book reports on the status and evolution of human opportunity in LAC. It builds on the 2008 publication in several directions. First, it uses newly-available data to expand the set of opportunities and personal circumstances under analysis. The data is representative of some 200 million children living in 19 countries over the last 15 years. Second, it compares human opportunity in LAC with that of developed countries, among them the US and France, two very different models of social policy.



Acknowledgments 7

Overview 9

Síntesis (In Spanish / En Español) 19

1. How Far Are We From Ensuring Opportunities for All? The Human Opportunity Index 29

1.1. Key Concepts: Basic Goods and Services, Universality, Equality

of Opportunity and Circumstances 31

1.2. Constructing a Measure of Progress Towards Basic

Opportunities for All 36

1.3. Empirical Considerations for Constructing the Human Opportunity Index 43

2. The State of Human Opportunities for Children in the Latin American

and Caribbean Region: 1995-2010 49

2.1. Progress in Improving Human Opportunities in LAC—Although

Universality Remains a Generation Away 51

2.2. Opportunities for Children to Access Basic Services in the LAC Region 59

2.3 Expanding Human Opportunities in Latin America and the the Caribbean: 1995-2010 61

2.4. Unpacking Changes in the HOI: Scale, Equity and Evolving Circumstances 62

2.5 The Inequality of Opportunity Profile 68

3. Human Opportunities in a Global Context:Benchmarking LAC to Other Regions

of the World 71

3.1 Human Opportunity Index for Quality Education 73

3.2 Human Opportunity Index for Housing 85

3.3 Understanding the Long-run Evolution of the HOI 91

3.4 Conclusion 93

4. Human Opportunities at the Sub-national Level in Latin America and the Caribbean 95

4.1. The Sub-national Human Opportunity Indices: Some Stylized Facts 96

4.2. Hetereogeneity in Subregional Human Opportunity Indices 104

4.3. Equalizing Regional Opportunities 113

4.4. Summary and Conclusions 117



Press Release 13 May 2010

Latin America Makes Progress, Gap with Rich Countries Remains

According to the WB 2010 Human Opportunity Index (HOI)



Madrid, May 13th, 2010 — In the last 15 years, countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) opened the doors of development to an increasing number of citizens, by providing greater access to basic services (water, sanitation, electricity, education, health, etc.) needed to succeed in life. Chile, Uruguay, Mexico, Costa Rica, Venezuela and Argentina lead the 2010 Human Opportunity Index (HOI), according to a new World Bank study.


However, these countries are still far from the human opportunity levels reached in countries like Spain, France and the United States, the report adds.


Regarding to educational quality, all Latin American countries rank below levels attained by European and North American nations. With respect to the opportunity to access housing that is not overcrowded, only three regional countries —Costa Rica, Chile and Brazil— are placed above the European average, while the rest rank five points or more below.


The document What Opportunity Do our children Have? 2010 Report on Human Opportunity in Latin America and the Caribbean was presented today at Casa de America in Madrid by Marcelo Giugale, World Bank Director for Poverty Reduction Programs, in an event attended by the former President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, and the Director of the International Finance Department of Spain’s Finance Ministry, María Jesús Fernández.


The report indicates that opportunities for LAC children have increased by one percentage point every year since 1995. While this is encouraging, governments can still step up efforts to accelerate universal access to basic services, a process that at the current pace would take around 24 years, meaning a whole generation.


“Personal circumstances are still very important to children in the region. Their parents’ educational level will probably determine their own. Their birthplace still remains the main determinant  to their  access to basic infrastructure. Despite efforts undertaken in the last decade, Latin American governments have not yet managed to improve equity significantly,” Giugale said.


The HOI is a tool that allows users to measure how much personal circumstances such as place of birth, family wealth, race or gender impact a child’s  access to services that are necessary to advance in life like primary education, drinking water or an electricity network, to be successful in life. The report includes representative data from more than 200 million children in 19 countries during the last 15 years, and compares human opportunities in the region with those in certain developed countries.


“Standardized comparisons in Latin America and the Caribbean, like the one presented today, are very limited both in coverage and data quality. The work developed by the World Bank is a tool that should be taken into account as a benchmark when designing poverty reduction policies in our countries. This report is particularly relevant, not only for its valuable statistic information, but above all, for the principles it promotes”, said Chile’s former president, Michelle Bachelet, who managed to significantly improve her country’s social indicators during her administration.


 According to this new edition of the HOI, all LAC countries have made progress in the last fifteen years, but there is significant disparity between them: the fastest improvement occurred in Mexico.  Chile shows the best performance (a HOI of 95, with 100 being the highest), while Honduras’ HOI is 51.




This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.

Stuart Basefsky                   
Director, IWS News Bureau                
Institute for Workplace Studies 
Cornell/ILR School                        
16 E. 34th Street, 4th Floor             
New York, NY 10016                        
Telephone: (607) 255-2703                
Fax: (607) 255-9641                       
E-mail: smb6@cornell.edu                  



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