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Education, earnings, and inequality in Brazil, 1982-98 - implications for education policy

Author

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  • Blom, Andreas
  • Holm-Nielsen, Lauritz
  • Verner, Dorte

Abstract

The educational attainment of Brazil's labor force, has gradually increased over the past two decades. At the same time, the government has pursued a series of economic structural adjustment policies. The authors investigate how these simultaneous advances have altered the relationship between labor market earnings, and education. They find that the returns to education in the labor market, fundamentally changed between 1982, and 1998. While the returns to tertiary education increased sharply, the returns to primary education dropped by 26 percent, and those to lower secondary, by 35 percent. Moreover, the authors argue, the marginal reduction in wage inequality that occurred in this period was linked primarily to a reduction in the returns to schooling, and only secondarily, to a more equitable distribution of schooling. The findings suggest that the supply of highly skilled labor is inadequate to meet demand. That suggests a need for policy action aimed at increasing access to, and completion of tertiary education. Increasing the supply of highly skilled labor, would improve prospects for both economic growth, and reduce wage inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Blom, Andreas & Holm-Nielsen, Lauritz & Verner, Dorte, 2001. "Education, earnings, and inequality in Brazil, 1982-98 - implications for education policy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2686, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2686
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Aysit Tansel & Fatma Bircan Bodur, 2012. "Wage Inequality and Returns to Education in Turkey: A Quantile Regression Analysis," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(1), pages 107-121, February.
    2. Yu Guanghua, 2019. "Open Access Order and Interconnected Institutions in Brazil: A Challenge," The Law and Development Review, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-40, January.
    3. Anuneeta Mitra, 2016. "Education and earning linkages of regular and casual workers in India: a quantile regression approach," Journal of Social and Economic Development, Springer;Institute for Social and Economic Change, vol. 18(1), pages 147-174, October.
    4. Benoit, Lorel, 2008. "Assessing Brazilian Educational Inequalities," Revista Brasileira de Economia - RBE, EPGE Brazilian School of Economics and Finance - FGV EPGE (Brazil), vol. 62(1), September.
    5. Harry Anthony Patrinos & Chris Sakellariou, 2006. "Economic volatility and returns to education in Venezuela: 1992-2002," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(17), pages 1991-2005.
    6. Yang Wang, 2015. "Education Expansion and Decline in Tertiary Premium in Brazil: 1995-2013," Working Papers 1525, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    7. Letícia Xander Russo & Joilson Dias, 2016. "The Health Influence On Returns To Education In Brazil: A Nonlinear Approach," Anais do XLII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 42nd Brazilian Economics Meeting] 200, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    8. Justesen, Michael, 2008. "Is the window of opportunity closing for Brazilian youth? Labor market trends and business cycle effects," Social Protection Discussion Papers and Notes 47188, The World Bank.
    9. Tushar Agrawal, 2011. "Returns to education in India: Some recent evidence," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2011-017, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
    10. Monsueto, Sandro Eduardo & Braz Golgher, André & Machado, Ana Flávia, 2006. "Earning inequalities in Brazil: quantile regressions and the decomposition approach," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), December.

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