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Spatial income inequality in Brazil, 1872–2000


  • Eustáquio Reis

    (IPEA, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)


The paper provides historical perspectives on spatial economic inequalities in Brazil making use of a database on Brazilian municipalities from 1872 to 2000. A suit of maps and graphs describe the geographic factors shaping the historical development of the Brazilian economy highlighting the role of transport costs and its consequences for the spatial dynamics of income per capita and labor productivity. The remaining of the paper estimates econometric models of growth convergence for municipal income per capita and labor productivity. From 1920 onwards analyses are refined, firstly, by disaggregating the models for urban and rural activities; secondly, by assuming spatial correlation among variables of the model; and, thirdly, by enlarging the model to take account of the long run determinants of spatial growth convergence. Empirical results endorse the historical preeminence of geographic factors – in particular accessibility and transport conditions – as opposed to institutional conditions. The conclusion summarizes the results and proposes research extensions.

Suggested Citation

  • Eustáquio Reis, 2014. "Spatial income inequality in Brazil, 1872–2000," Economia, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics], vol. 15(2), pages 119-140.
  • Handle: RePEc:anp:econom:v:15:y:2014:2:119_140

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    Cited by:

    1. Rougier, Eric & Combarnous, François & Fauré, Yves-André, 2018. "The “Local Economy” Effect of Social Transfers: An Empirical Assessment of the Impact of the Bolsa Família Program on Local Productive Structure and Economic Growth," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 199-215.
    2. Eric ROUGIER & François COMBARNOUS & Yves-André FAURE, 2017. "The ‘local economy’ effect of social transfers: A municipality-level analysis of the local growth impact of the Bolsa Familia Programme in the Brazilian Nordeste," Cahiers du GREThA (2007-2019) 2017-09, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée (GREThA).
    3. Bird, Julia & Straub, Stéphane, 2020. "The Brasília experiment: The heterogeneous impact of road access on spatial development in Brazil," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 127(C).
    4. José Aguilar Retureta, 2016. "Explaining regional inequality from the periphery: The mexican case, 1900-2000," Documentos de Trabajo (DT-AEHE) 1608, Asociación Española de Historia Económica.
    5. Ehrl, Philipp & Monteiro Monasterio, Leonardo, 2016. "Historical trades, skills and agglomeration economies," MPRA Paper 69829, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Craig, J. Dean & Faria, Anna B., 2021. "Immigrant nationality and human capital formation in Brazil," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 80(C).
    7. Elham Vafaei & Parviz Mohammadzadeh & Hossein Asgharpour, 2019. "The Evaluation of Suitability of Spatial Error STAR Model for Modeling Convergence of Social Welfare of Iran's Provinces," Iranian Economic Review (IER), Faculty of Economics,University of Tehran.Tehran,Iran, vol. 23(1), pages 47-62, Winter.

    More about this item


    Brazil; Transport cost; Cross-municipal growth convergence; Income per capita; Labor productivity; Spatial correlation; Geography versus institutions;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • N96 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Latin America; Caribbean


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