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The myth of post-reform income stagnation: Evidence from Brazil and Mexico

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  • Filho, Irineu de Carvalho
  • Chamon, Marcos

Abstract

Economic policies are often judged by a handful of statistics, some of which may be biased during periods of change. We estimate the income growth implied by the evolution of food demand and durable good ownership in post-reform Brazil and Mexico, and find that changes in consumption patterns are inconsistent with official estimates of near stagnant incomes. That is attributed to biases in the price deflator. The estimated unmeasured income gains are higher for poorer households, implying marked reductions in “real” inequality. These findings challenge the conventional wisdom that post-reform income growth was low and did not benefit the poor.

Suggested Citation

  • Filho, Irineu de Carvalho & Chamon, Marcos, 2012. "The myth of post-reform income stagnation: Evidence from Brazil and Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 368-386.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:97:y:2012:i:2:p:368-386
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2011.06.009
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    2. Almås, Ingvild & Johnsen, Åshild Auglænd, 2012. "The cost of living in China: Implications for inequality and poverty," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 21/2012, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    3. Yavuz Arslan & Evren Ceritoglu, 2011. "Kalite Artislari ve Enflasyon : Turkiye Ornegi," Central Bank Review, Research and Monetary Policy Department, Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey, vol. 11(1), pages 1-9.
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    5. Josef C. Brada & Jan KubÃ­Ä ek & Ali M. Kutan & Vladimír Tomšík, 2015. "Inflation Targeting: Insights from Behavioral Economics," Eastern European Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(5), pages 357-376, September.
    6. Gaddis,Isis, 2016. "Prices for poverty analysis in Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7652, The World Bank.
    7. Susan Olivia & John Gibson, 2013. "Using Engel curves to measure CPI bias for Indonesia," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(1), pages 85-101, April.
    8. Chamon, Marcos & de Carvalho Filho, Irineu, 2014. "Consumption based estimates of urban Chinese growth," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 126-137.
    9. Bittencourt, Manoel, 2011. "Inflation and financial development: Evidence from Brazil," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 91-99.
    10. Trevon D. Logan, 2008. "Are Engel Curve Estimates of CPI Bias Biased?," NBER Working Papers 13870, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Pablo Gluzmann & Federico Sturzenegger, 2018. "An estimation of CPI biases in Argentina 1985–2005 and its implications on real income growth and income distribution," Latin American Economic Review, Springer;Centro de Investigaciòn y Docencia Económica (CIDE), vol. 27(1), pages 1-50, December.
    12. Petar Stankov, 2017. "Economic Freedom and Welfare Before and After the Crisis," Springer Books, Springer, number 978-3-319-62497-6, September.
    13. Ingvild Almas & Ashild Johnsen, 2018. "The cost of a growth miracle - reassessing price and poverty trends in China," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 30, pages 239-264, October.
    14. Bruce Sacerdote, 2017. "Fifty Years Of Growth In American Consumption, Income, And Wages," NBER Working Papers 23292, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Garry F. Barrett & Matthew Brzozowski, 2010. "Using Engel Curves to Estimate the Bias in the Australian CPI," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 86(272), pages 1-14, March.
    16. Cook, Jonathan Aaron, 2013. "Does Chinese Inflation Understate Cost of Living?," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150571, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    17. Grier, Kevin B. & Grier, Robin M., 2021. "The Washington consensus works: Causal effects of reform, 1970-2015," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 59-72.
    18. Orlando Sotomayor, 2019. "Growth with reduction in poverty and inequality: did Brazil show the way?," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 17(4), pages 521-541, December.
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    20. Mr. Irineu E de Carvalho Filho & Mr. Marcello M. Estevão, 2012. "Institutions, Informality, and Wage Flexibility: Evidence From Brazil," IMF Working Papers 2012/084, International Monetary Fund.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Household consumption; Measurement error; CPI bias; Economic reform; Trade liberalization; Inflation stabilization;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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