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Rural non-agricultural activities and poverty in the Brazilian northeast

  • Francisco de Hollanda Guimarães Ferreira


    (Department of Economics PUC-Rio)

  • Peter Lanjouw

    (World Bank)

This paper combines two complementary data sets to present a disaggregated spatial profile of poverty in the Brazilian Northeast, and to investigate the importance of non-agricultural activities for its rural dwellers. We present both univariate and multivariate profiles of non-agricultural employment and discuss its determinants. While the main occupational difference between the rural poor and the rural non-poor in Brazil seems to be the greater reliance of the former on paid agricultural employment (vis-à-vis own cultivation), rather than access to non-agricultural activities, the evidence nevertheless suggests that diversification into this growing sector provides both an important complement to the budgets of the poor, and possibly a self-insurance mechanism against negative shocks. Despite the substantial heterogeneity of the sector, two general findings are robust: returns to education are comparatively high; and location in relation to urban areas is an important determinant of both employment and earnings in rural non-agricultural activities.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil) in its series Textos para discussão with number 428.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rio:texdis:428
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  1. Fafchamps, Marcel & Shilpi, Forhad, 2002. "The spatial division of labor in Nepal," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2845, The World Bank.
  2. Lanjouw, Peter & Quizon, Jaime & Sparrow, Robert, 2001. "Non-agricultural earnings in peri-urban areas of Tanzania: evidence from household survey data," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 385-403, August.
  3. Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Peter Lanjouw & Marcelo Neri, 2001. "A New Poverty Profile For Brazil Using PPV, PNAD And Census Data," Anais do XXIX Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 29th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 100, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
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