Author | Editor: Kuznar, L. (NSI, Inc.)
Three datasets on wealth and status distribution in Honduras were analyzed: the 2017 World Bank quintile and decile estimates of income, the 2011-12 distribution of agricultural land, and the 2011-12 distribution of the USAID DHS wealth factor score.
The Honduran population exhibits an overall propensity for taking risks, and at a much higher rate than is typical for most countries. This analysis indicates that both the very poor and the wealthiest Hondurans have the greatest potential for risk taking.
Significance for Risk Taking and Stability
The high degree of risk taking among elites may be reflected in political instability such as the 2009 coup d’état. Risk taking among the poorest half of the population could be manifest in their attraction toward illegal activity, migration as a reaction to the lack of economic opportunity in a poor nation with wage stagnation, and to the threat of violence from gangs.
Implications for US Interests
Honduras’ high levels of inequality are a source of its extremely high levels of violence, which has emerged as the main driver for migration. Honduran migration has had a destabilizing effect on the region, including on US domestic political unity. Increasing distance between the US government and Honduras, coupled with the potential for unexpected changes in leadership and policy of the Honduran government, could jeopardize US interests and create opportunities for Chinese and Russian encroachment.
Implications for China’s Interests
China has been actively increasing its influence in the region through development, aid, and education programs. The Honduran government could potentially shift its allegiance toward China depending on changes among the political elite, and common Honduran people might seek Chinese aid in order to overcome the lack of opportunity within Honduran society. However, Honduran recognition of Taiwan remains an obstacle to Chinese/Honduran political relations.
Implications for Russia’s Interests
Russia has been actively increasing its influence in Latin America through diplomatic initiatives. The Honduran government has historically been a staunch US ally, although recent decreases in aid to Honduras may weaken that relationship. The Honduran government at this time appears to fear growing influence of Russia in the region, although increasing distance between the US and Honduras creates an opportunity for Russia to undermine US influence.