Leah is a rising senior majoring in Economics and Spanish at Penn State University. She is an active participant in the Paterno Fellows Program through the Liberal Arts College and was admitted into the Schreyer Honor’s College in fall 2014. She also spent time studying abroad in Seville, Spain and is traveling to Brazil and Peru during the summer of 2015 to conduct thesis research and teach English. On campus she works with the Office of Global Programs in the Department of International Student and Scholar Advising and Global Engagement. She is also a member of the Penn State Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team.
The purpose of my thesis research is to study the effects of neoliberal economic policies on income inequality in South America. It is hypothesized that there is a direct correlation between the implementation of these policies and the increased inequality within South America as measured by the Gini index. By studying the economic data from the past five decades and conducting interviews with the native citizens, a better understanding of the economic situation will be obtained. Once the factors that lead to a divide between socio-economic classes can be identified, there can be positive movement toward policies that will help neutralize the situation in the future.