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The dynamics of poverty and its determinants - the case of the Northeast of Brazil and its states

  • Fiess, Norbert M.
  • Verner, Dorte

In the northeast region of Brazil, the poverty picture of the past two decades reveals large fluctuations in the poverty level, and poverty depth. Findings based on the Brazilian annual household survey (Pesquisa Nacional de Amostra Domiciliar, PNAD) datasets from 1981-99 reveal that individual characteristics such as education, experience, and labor market association of the household head are important correlates of poverty. Taking these into account, data reveal that a Nordestino (northeasterner) is 24percentage points more likely to fall below the indigent poverty line than other Brazilians. Analyses also reveal large differences in poverty levels by education, and these differences have increased over time. The authors observe that the probability of being poor is decreasing with increasing educational attainment. The gender of the household head does not matter for poverty, according to the poverty profile. But when the authors control for education and other individual characteristics, female-headed households have a much larger likelihood of being poor than male-headed households. Household size also matters for poverty. Larger households are more likely to experience poverty than smaller households, and the effect is concave. Moreover, households with children under age 5 appear more likely to fall below the poverty line, than families with no children below age 5. The presence of old-aged people (above 65 years) in the household is an important factor contributing to poverty reduction.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3259.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2004
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3259
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  1. Woden, Q.T. & Ayres, W. & Barenstein, M. & Hicks, N. & Lee, K. & Maloney, W. & Peeters, P. & Siaens, C. & Yitzjaki, S., 2000. "Poverty and Policy in Latin America and Caribeean," Papers 467, World Bank - Technical Papers.
  2. Amadeo, Edward Joaquim & Neri, Marcelo Cortes, 2000. "Macroeconomic Policy And Poverty In Brazil," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 373, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  3. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2001. "Growth is good for the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2587, The World Bank.
  4. 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).
  5. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
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