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Financial Development and Inequality: Brazil 1985-99

  • Manoel F. Meyer Bittencourt

We examine the impact that financial development had on earnings inequality in Brazil in the 1980’s and 90’s. The empirical evidence, based on panel time series and time series data, shows that more broad access to financial and credit markets had a significant and robust effect in reducing inequality during the period investigated. We suggest that this is not only because the poor can invest the acquired credit in all sorts of productive activities, but also because those with access to financial markets can insulate themselves against recurrent poor macroeconomic performance, which is exemplified by extreme inflation rates. The main implication of the results is that a seemingly non-distortionary policy, such as more credit aimed at the poor, alleviates the high inequality present in Brazil and consequently improves welfare without distorting economic efficiency.

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Paper provided by DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade in its series DEGIT Conference Papers with number c011_055.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:deg:conpap:c011_055
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  1. By Ales BulÌr, 2001. "Income Inequality: Does Inflation Matter?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 48(1), pages 5.
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  11. Eliana Cardoso & Andre Urani & Andre Urani, 1995. "Inflation and Unemployment as Determinants of Inequality in Brazil: The 1980s," NBER Chapters, in: Reform, Recovery, and Growth: Latin America and the Middle East, pages 151-176 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Robin Burgess & Rohini Pande, 2003. "Do rural banks matter? evidence from the Indian social banking experiment," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2244, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  14. Shahidur R. Khandker, 2005. "Microfinance and Poverty: Evidence Using Panel Data from Bangladesh," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 19(2), pages 263-286.
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  17. Thomas Piketty, 1997. "The Dynamics of the Wealth Distribution and the Interest Rate with Credit Rationing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 173-189.
  18. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 2004. "Finance, inequality, and poverty: cross-country evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3338, The World Bank.
  19. Philippe Aghion & Patrick Bolton, 1997. "A Theory of Trickle-Down Growth and Development," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 151-172.
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  24. Patrick Honohan, 2004. "Financial development, growth, and poverty: how close are the links?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3203, The World Bank.
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