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Inequality of outcomes and inequality of opportunities in Brazil

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  • François Bourguignon

    (World Bank)

  • Francisco H. G. Ferreira

    ()
    (World Bank and Department of Economics PUC-Rio)

  • Marta Menendez

    (DELTA)

Abstract

This paper departs from John Roemer's formulation of the theory of equality of opportunities. It seeks to determine what part of observed outcome inequality may be attributed to differences in observed 'circumstances', including family background, and what part is due to 'personal efforts'. We use a micro-econometric technique to simulate what the distribution of outcomes would look like if 'circumstances' were the same for everybody. This technique is applied to Brazilian data from the 1996 household survey, both on the distribution of earnings for active individuals and on the distribution of household income per capita. It is shown that observed circumstances are a major source of outcome inequality in Brazil, probably more so than in other countries for which information is available. Yet, the level of inequality after equalizing circumstances remains very high. While a policy aimed at equalizing opportunities - through facilitating more equal access to schooling, for instance - might therefore be successful in lowering Brazilian inequality somewhat, more ambitious targets for inequality reduction may require more direct income redistribution.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil) in its series Textos para discussão with number 478.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rio:texdis:478

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Related research

Keywords: Inequality of Opportunities; Intergenerational Educational Mobility JEL Codes: D31; D63; J62;

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  1. Piketty, Thomas, 1995. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 551-84, August.
  2. Kaivan Munshi & Mark Rosenzweig, 2006. "Traditional Institutions Meet the Modern World: Caste, Gender, and Schooling Choice in a Globalizing Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1225-1252, September.
  3. 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).
  4. Valéria Pero, 2001. "Et, à Rio, plus ça reste le même... Tendências da mobilidade social intergeracional no Rio de Janeiro," Anais do XXIX Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 29th Brazilian Economics Meeting], ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Gr 096, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
  5. Jere R. Behrman & Alejandro Gaviria Uribe & Miguel Székely, 2001. "Intergenerational Mobility in Latin America," WORKING PAPERS SERIES. DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO, FEDESARROLLO 002914, FEDESARROLLO.
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  1. La desigualdad de oportunidades: una literatura emergente
    by Guest blogger in Hacia el desarrollo efectivo on 2011-12-07 21:22:05
  2. La desigualdad de oportunidades: una literatura emergente
    by Guest blogger in Hacia el desarrollo efectivo on 2011-12-07 21:22:05
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