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Race and Income Distribution: Evidence from the USA, Brazil and South Africa

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  • Carlos Gradín

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to provide some empirical evidence about black–white differentials in the distribution of income and wellbeing in three different countries: Brazil, the USA and South Africa. In all cases, people of African descent are in a variety of ways socially disadvantaged compared with the relatively more affluent whites. We investigate the extent of these gaps in comparative perspective, and analyze to what degree they are associated with differences in the observed characteristics of races, such as where they live, the types of household they have, or their performance in the labor market. We undertake this analysis with the Oaxaca–Blinder decomposition at the means and with a propensity score approach at the entire distribution. Our results show how the factors underlying the racial divide vary across countries and income quantiles.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos Gradín, 2014. "Race and Income Distribution: Evidence from the USA, Brazil and South Africa," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(1), pages 73-92, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:rdevec:v:18:y:2014:i:1:p:73-92
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/rode.12070
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. DiNardo, John & Fortin, Nicole M & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1001-1044, September.
    2. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    3. Thomas Lemieux, 2002. "Decomposing changes in wage distributions: a unified approach," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 35(4), pages 646-688, November.
    4. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J82 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Labor Force Composition
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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