UC graduate and PhD in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Andrea Repetto is the only Chilean economist was quoted by a Nobel laureate in economics, American Edmund Phelps, in his speech to receive the award in 2006. He currently serves as an academic and researcher at the Center for Applied Economics, Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Chile.
- What is the impact, in their view, unequal opportunities Chile competitiveness in international markets?
-First, when there is inequality of opportunity at home does not bloom competition. I mean, some people have more opportunities than others, who have grown more than others, have better networking than others, or have access to credit and can finance their good ideas and take, and there are people who do not have. Therefore, domestic markets are not competitive when no equal access to opportunities. In other words, you can not be sure that people have the best ideas are the entrepreneurs you can make sure that only people who have the resources to be entrepreneurs, and are not necessarily the same people.
When that then translate to an international context, we are starting out as a country that is less efficient in the use of their resources. Again the same example. Not all those with good ideas to take what they do, and those good ideas become products that Chile can go out and sell to international markets. And, on the other hand, it is also clear that in the less unequal, greater social cohesion. And when there is greater social peace, when there is dialogue, whenever it might be a conflict is resolved in a coordinated way, things work much better. So, in that sense, there are two stages in this disadvantage it may have Chile in international markets product of inequalities.
- How is it possible to increase the productivity of Chilean workers in a more balanced, so that does not deepen the gap especially now, in the era of the information society, it is becoming more pronounced?
-What I will say is very repetitive, but education, investment in human capital is what makes the big difference in worker productivity. The return on investment in education is the highest. There profitability of investing in human capital, investing in people, even if not everyone had the same access (to education).
The quality of schools, the schools, municipal schools across the country is very uneven. There are children who access different resources. Not only in terms of the quality of teachers, quality of infrastructure, the books they have, but also the peers that meet the cultural context and how much support they can give the family at home. That makes a big difference.
What is difficult for a country that education is a long term investment, and that we have learned, has to start from the cradle. So, the big returns are in the early years of the children. We have invested heavily in further education, and that's fine, but we need to think of the whole chain. And that will be for future generations. Today we have a workforce that a very high proportion have not completed school education, and we are not going to be able to solve today's ytampoco unfortunately has to resolve the work we are doing in the committee.
But if we can agree and think that in the long run, perhaps we can define what we do in the transition: how to train the workers, how to give them tools and help with labor certifications that make them more competitive in the market.
-Education is raised by some as the master key that will help to overcome the great social divide that has Chile and it does, for example, that our Gini coefficient (the statistical index that measures inequality) is similar to that of Brazil, which is one of the worst on the continent ... What is your position on this, because suddenly there are political groups that put all the emphasis on it: education (or lack thereof) as the major cause of inequality? Is it as well?...
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