On Chilean protests

If you didn’t know there were massive social protests in Chile from 2019 till 2022. Those protests resulted to adoption of new Constitution and election of new President.

I remember talking to a Chilean friend about Chile and she was telling me how terrible the situation was.

So I did what I always do and looked up GDP numbers for Chile.

I was very suprised, since I wasn’t aware that Chile has the best GDP per capita in Latin America. It’s higher than Argentinian one for the past 20 years. This fact surprised my friend to. What she experienced living in Chile and those incredible GDP numbers didn’t match.

I you dig a little bit deeper you will see one hypothesis of this social and political crisis. That while economy experienced outstanding growth in the past 20 years other things (like inequality) didn’t improve much.

One of the indicators used to measure inequality is called Gini coefficient

The lower number is the better. And we see that in the past 20 years it went from 52 to 44.9. So it did improve. So this doesn’t give us any insight about protests.

Ok, let’s compare Gini index across other countries in Latin America.

What do we see here? We see that Chile’s number is a bit worse than the one of Argentina and Peru and better than Brazil and Colombia.

So it’s not that terrible according to this indicator. How do we reconcile social protests and stories from my friend and data?

Ok, so maybe the speed of change wasn’t good enough. Let’s see the chart.

Everything looks good here. In fact we see that numbers improve steadily over time. It indicates good and steady and sustainable progress.

Ok, so basically we still didn’t find anything in GDP and Gini index that would explain reason for the social unrest. Next step is to look at more indicators. Fortunately there are more indicators collected at World Inequality Database