IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Poverty reduction without economic growth ? explaining Brazil's poverty dynamics, 1985-2004

  • Ferreira, Francisco H. G.
  • Leite, Phillippe G.
  • Ravallion, Martin

Brazil's slow pace of poverty reduction over the last two decades reflects both low growth and a low growth elasticity of poverty reduction. Using GDP data disaggregated by state and sector for a twenty-year period, this paper finds considerable variation in the poverty-reducing effectiveness of growth-across sectors, across space, and over time. Growth in the services sector was substantially more poverty-reducing than was growth in either agriculture or industry. Growth in industry had very different effects on poverty across different states and its impact varied with initial conditions related to human development and worker empowerment. The determinants of poverty reduction changed around 1994: positive growth rates and a greater (absolute) elasticity with respect to agricultural growth contributed to faster poverty reduction. But because there was so little of it, economic growth played a relatively small role in accounting for Brazil's poverty reduction between 1985 and 2004. The taming of hyperinflation (in 1994) and substantial expansions in social security and social assistance transfers, beginning in 1988, accounted for a larger share of the overall reduction in poverty.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4431.

in new window

Date of creation: 01 Dec 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4431
Contact details of provider: Postal:
1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433

Phone: (202) 477-1234
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Gustavo Gonzaga & Naércio Menezes Filho & Cristina Terra, 2006. "Trade Liberalization and the Evolution of Skill Earnings Differentials in Brazil," Development Working Papers 216, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
  2. Fabio Veras Soares & Sergei Suarez Dillon Soares & Marcelo Medeiros & Rafael Guerreiro Osório, 2006. "Cash Transfer Programmes in Brazil: Impacts on Inequality and Poverty," Working Papers 21, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
  3. Afonso Ferreira, 2000. "Convergence in Brazil: recent trends and long-run prospects," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(4), pages 479-489.
  4. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2001. "Growth is good for the poor," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2587, The World Bank.
  5. Kakwani, Nanak, 1993. "Poverty and Economic Growth with Application to Cote d'Ivoire," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 39(2), pages 121-39, June.
  6. Marcelo de Paiva Abreu, 2004. "Trade Liberalization and the Political Economy of Protection in Brazil since 1987," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 9376, Inter-American Development Bank.
  7. Ravallion, Martin & Shaohua Chen, 2004. "China's (uneven) progress against poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3408, The World Bank.
  8. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 1997. "What Can New Survey Data Tell Us about Recent Changes in Distribution and Poverty?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(2), pages 357-82, May.
  9. Kraay, Aart, 2006. "When is growth pro-poor? Evidence from a panel of countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 198-227, June.
  10. Luc Christiaensen & Lionel Demery, 2007. "Down to Earth : Agriculture and Poverty Reduction in Africa," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6624.
  11. Ravallion, Martin, 1995. "Growth and poverty: Evidence for developing countries in the 1980s," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(3-4), pages 411-417, June.
  12. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Leite, Phillippe G. & Litchfield, Julie A., 2008. "The Rise And Fall Of Brazilian Inequality: 1981–2004," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(S2), pages 199-230, September.
  13. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Lanjouw, Peter & Neri, Marcelo Côrtes, 2003. "A Robust Poverty Profile for Brazil Using Multiple Data Sources," Revista Brasileira de Economia, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil), vol. 57(1), January.
  14. Chen, Shaohua & Ravallion, Martin, 2007. "Absolute poverty measures for the developing world, 1981-2004," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4211, The World Bank.
  15. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 2003. "Measuring pro-poor growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 93-99, January.
  16. Pedro Cavalcanti Ferreira & JosÈ Luiz Rossi, 2003. "New Evidence from Brazil on Trade Liberalization and Productivity Growth," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(4), pages 1383-1405, November.
  17. Essama-Nssah B. & Lambert, Peter J., 2006. "Measuring the pro-poorness of income growth within an elasticity framework," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4035, The World Bank.
  18. Loayza, Norman V. & Raddatz, Claudio, 2006. "The composition of growth matters for poverty alleviation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4077, The World Bank.
  19. Lanjouw, Peter & Ravallion, Martin, 1995. "Poverty and Household Size," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(433), pages 1415-34, November.
  20. Daron Acemoglu & María Angélica Bautista & Pablo Querubín & James A. Robinson, 2007. "Economic and Political Inequality in Development: The Case of Cundinamarca, Colombia," NBER Working Papers 13208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Ferreira, Francisco H.G. & Leite, Phillippe G. & Wai-Poi, Matthew, 2007. "Trade Liberalization, Employment Flows and Wage Inequality in Brazil," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  22. Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Growth, Inequality and Poverty: Looking Beyond Averages," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1803-1815, November.
  23. Rudiger Dornbusch & Sebastian Edwards, 1989. "Macroeconomic Populism in Latin America," NBER Working Papers 2986, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav, 2002. "Why has economic growth been more pro-poor in some states of India than others?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 381-400, August.
  25. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav, 1996. "How Important to India's Poor Is the Sectoral Composition of Economic Growth?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(1), pages 1-25, January.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4431. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.