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Race and income distribution: Evidence from the US, Brazil and South Africa


  • Carlos Gradín

    () (Universidade de Vigo)


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, US 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 can be explained by 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 approach at the means and with the DiNardo-Fortin-Lemieux 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, 2010. "Race and income distribution: Evidence from the US, Brazil and South Africa," Working Papers 179, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  • Handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2010-179

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
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    1. Race and income distribution: Evidence from the US, Brazil and South Africa
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2011-01-31 17:05:47

    More about this item


    racial inequalities; income distribution; United States; Brazil; South Africa.;

    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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