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Poverty reduction without economic growth?: Explaining Brazil's poverty dynamics, 1985-2004

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  • Ferreira, Francisco H.G.
  • Leite, Phillippe G.
  • Ravallion, Martin

Abstract

Brazil's slow pace of poverty reduction between the mid-1980s and the mid-2000s reflects both low growth and a low growth elasticity of poverty reduction. Using GDP data disaggregated by state and sector for a twenty-year period, this paper finds considerable variation in the poverty-reducing effectiveness of growth--across sectors, across space, and over time. Growth in the services sector was substantially more poverty-reducing than was growth in either agriculture or industry. Growth in industry had different effects on poverty across different states and its impact varied with initial conditions related to human development and worker empowerment. But because there was so little of it, economic growth actually played a relatively small role in accounting for Brazil's poverty reduction between 1985 and 2004. The taming of hyperinflation (in 1994) and a substantial expansion in social security and social assistance transfers, in large part mandated by the 1988 Constitution, accounted for the bulk of the overall reduction in poverty.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 93 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
Pages: 20-36

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:93:y:2010:i:1:p:20-36

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/devec

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Keywords: Pro-poor growth Poverty Inequality Brazil;

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  1. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav, 2002. "Why has economic growth been more pro-poor in some states of India than others?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 381-400, August.
  2. Lanjouw, Peter & Ravallion, Martin & DEC, 1994. "Poverty and household size," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1332, The World Bank.
  3. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2001. "Growth is good for the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2587, The World Bank.
  4. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Leite, Phillippe G. & Litchfield, Julie A., 2006. "The rise and fall of Brazilian inequality, 1981-2004," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3867, The World Bank.
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  7. Loayza, Norman V. & Raddatz, Claudio, 2006. "The composition of growth matters for poverty alleviation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4077, The World Bank.
  8. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Leite, Phillippe G. & Wai-Poi, Matthew, 2007. "Trade liberalization, employment flows, and wage inequality in Brazil," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4108, The World Bank.
  9. Luc Christiaensen & Lionel Demery, 2007. "Down to Earth : Agriculture and Poverty Reduction in Africa," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6624, October.
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  13. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Lanjouw, Peter & Neri, Marcelo Cortes, 2002. "A Robust Poverty Profile for Brazil Using Multiple Data Sources," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 444, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
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  19. Daron Acemoglu & María Angélica Bautista & Pablo Querubín & James A. Robinson, 2007. "Economic and Political Inequality in Development: The Case of Cundinamarca, Colombia," NBER Working Papers 13208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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