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Is all Socioeconomic Inequality among Racial Groups in Brazil Caused by Racial Discrimination?

Listed author(s):
  • Rafael Guerreiro Osório


    (International Poverty Centre)

This Working Paper addresses the issue of whether current racial discrimination is the decisive determinant of the wide and persistent inequalities in socioeconomic conditions between Whites and Blacks in Brazil. The paper highlights three main conclusions. The first is that factors, such as region of residence, parental education and household income, together, are responsible for the major proportion of the racial gaps that are observed today, but that racial discrimination remains a major source of inequalities among racial groups. The second conclusion is that whenever educational outcomes, such as literacy, can be easily attained, the ceteris paribus effect of race on the probability of attainment is small and diminishes as household income increases; but when outcomes are more difficult to attain, such as for secondary or higher education, the racial gap is large and increases with income. In other words, the effects of racial discrimination tend to be amplified when Black Brazilians are competing with White Brazilians for highly valued but low-supply social resources, such as higher levels of education. The third conclusion is that although younger age cohorts of Black Brazilians are advancing relative to their parents and to the Brazilian population as a whole, they are not advancing relative to their own age cohort. Thus, although younger age cohorts might be advancing relative to older age cohorts, young Black Brazilians remain in the same relative position vis-à-vis young White Brazilians as older generations of Blacks did vis-à-vis Whites. Thus, in a relative sense, there has been virtually no social mobility for Black Brazilians in the last three decades.

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Paper provided by International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth in its series Working Papers with number 43.

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Length: 43
Date of creation: Feb 2008
Publication status: Published by UNDP - International Poverty Centre, February 2008, pages 1-43
Handle: RePEc:ipc:wpaper:43
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  1. Hasenbalg, Carlos, 2006. "Ciclo de vida y desigualdades raciales en Brasil," Documentos de Proyectos 4110, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
  2. Campante, Filipe R. & Crespo, Anna R. V. & Leite, Phillippe G. P. G., 2004. "Desigualdade Salarial entre Raças no Mercado de Trabalho Urbano Brasileiro: Aspectos Regionais," Revista Brasileira de Economia - RBE, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil), vol. 58(2), April.
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