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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Francisco de Hollanda Guimarães Ferreira & Peter Lanjouw, 2000. "Rural non-agricultural activities and poverty in the Brazilian northeast," Textos para discussão 428, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
  • Handle: RePEc:rio:texdis:428

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Marcel Fafchamps & Forhad Shilpi, 2003. "The spatial division of labour in Nepal," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(6), pages 23-66.
    3. Francisco de Hollanda Guimarães Ferreira & Peter Lanjouw & Marcelo Neri, 2000. "A new poverty profile for Brazil using PPV, PNAD and census data," Textos para discussão 418, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
    4. Jolliffe, Dean, 1998. "Skills, Schooling, and Household Income in Ghana," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 12(1), pages 81-104, January.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • J43 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Agricultural Labor Markets

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