Geography and Income Convergence among Brazilian States
The objective of the study is to identify the role of geographical variables in explaining differences in per capita income among Brazilian states. It also aims at ascertaining the degree to which such variables affect convergence or divergence trends in per capita income among these states. In order to investigate these issues it uses micro-data, instead of the more traditional aggregate data, averaged up from household to birth cohort level. Both the level and the change in average household income per capita across Brazilian states are correlated to geographical and household variables. The aim is to capture not only the influence of household human capital and wealth variables on the convergence of per capita income (along the lines of the neoclassical model), but also that of spatial or geographical characteristics, such as public infrastructure, health and education services. Therefore, this paper simultaneously considers data on geographical variables and repeated cross-sections of household surveys. The use of cohort level data means that we can construct cohort/state/year means for all variables of interest and control for state, life cycle and composition effects for the first time in this literature. The results indicate that the geographical variables seem to be important determinants of income levels and growth. Altogether, the results indicate that human capital and infrastructure variables are important areas for government intervention, as these are some of the main factors behind the differences in steady-state rates of income growth in Brazil.
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