Summary: This report has three main objectives. The first is to assess the extent and determinants of poverty, malnutrition, and inequality in Panama. The second involves examining the impact of government policies and spending on the poor in key sectors. The third is to outline priorities and steps for translating the Government's poverty strategy. Chapter one examines the extent and distribution of poverty in Panama; and the extent of malnutrition and inequality. Poverty, malnutrition, and inequality in Panama largely reflect underlying disparities in key assets (labor, human capital, physical assets, financial assets, and social capital), as shown in chapters two and three. Such disparities can largely be traced to a legacy of distortions in Panama's economy, discussed in chapter four, and biases in public spending, discussed in chapter five. Chapter six outlines the main principles of the Government's poverty strategy, and recommends priorities for translating this strategy into action. In addition to providing additional details in technical and statistical appendixes, the annexes include a number of in-depth background papers on rural poverty, indigenous poverty, urban poverty, the determinants of poverty, malnutrition, inequality, poverty and labor markets, pre-school programs, health care use and the incidence of health care spending, school and health feeding programs, social capital, and female headed households, among others.
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