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Understanding inequality in Brazil: a conceptual overview


  • François Bourguignon
  • Francisco de Hollanda Guimarães Ferreira

    () (Department of Economics PUC-Rio)


This is a background note to a joint IPEA/World Bank Report, provisionally entitled "Selected Topics on Income Inequality in Brazil", with publication planned for 2001. The purpose of the note is twofold. First we propose four central questions which the Report should seek to address, and around which it can be structured. These are: "What is unique about Brazil's inequality?"; "Why does inequality matter?"; "Which inequality matters most?"; and "What - if anything - can the government do about it?". Second, we provide reasonably detailed outlines for four background papers for the Main Report: each addressing one of the foregoing questions.

Suggested Citation

  • François Bourguignon & Francisco de Hollanda Guimarães Ferreira, 2000. "Understanding inequality in Brazil: a conceptual overview," Textos para discussão 434, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
  • Handle: RePEc:rio:texdis:434

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Income distribution, political instability, and investment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1203-1228, June.
    2. Frank A. Cowell, 1980. "On the Structure of Additive Inequality Measures," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(3), pages 521-531.
    3. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1998. "New ways of looking at old issues: inequality and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 259-287.
    4. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
    5. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1993. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 274-298, April.
    6. Cecilia Garcia-Penalosa & Eve Caroli & Philippe Aghion, 1999. "Inequality and Economic Growth: The Perspective of the New Growth Theories," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1615-1660, December.
    7. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
    8. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Paes de Barrios, Ricardo, 1999. "The slippery slope : explaining the increase in extreme poverty in urban Brazil, 1976-96," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2210, The World Bank.
    9. Bourguignon, Francois, 1979. "Decomposable Income Inequality Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(4), pages 901-920, July.
    10. 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).
    11. Frank A. Cowell & Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Julie A. Litchfield, 1999. "Income Distribution In Brazil 1981-1990 Parametric and Non-Parametric Approach," Journal of Income Distribution, Journal of Income Distribution, vol. 8(1), pages 3-3, June.
    12. Kristin J. Forbes, 2000. "A Reassessment of the Relationship between Inequality and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 869-887, September.
    13. Shorrocks, A F, 1980. "The Class of Additively Decomposable Inequality Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(3), pages 613-625, April.
    14. Chris Elbers & Jean O. Lanjouw & Peter Lanjouw, 2003. "Micro--Level Estimation of Poverty and Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 355-364, January.
    15. Cowell, Frank A & Jenkins, Stephen P, 1995. "How Much Inequality Can We Explain? A Methodology and an Application to the United States," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(429), pages 421-430, March.
    16. Thomas Piketty, 1997. "The Dynamics of the Wealth Distribution and the Interest Rate with Credit Rationing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 173-189.
    17. Perotti, Roberto & Alesina, Alberto, 1996. "Income Distribution, Political Instability, and Investment," Scholarly Articles 4553018, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    18. Deininger, Klaus & Olinto, Pedro, 2000. "Asset distribution, inequality, and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2375, The World Bank.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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