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Beyond Oaxaca-Blinder: Accounting for Differences in Household Income Distributions Across Countries


  • Fran??ois Bourguignon
  • Francisco H. G. Ferreira


  • Phillippe G. Leite


This paper develops a micro-econometric method to account for differences across distributions of household income. Going beyond the determination of earnings in labor markets, we also estimate statistical models for occupational choice and for the conditional distributions of education, fertility and non-labor incomes. We import combinations of estimated parameters from these models to simulate counterfactual income distributions. This allows us to decompose differences between functionals of two income distributions (such as inequality or poverty measures) into shares due to differences in the structure of labor market returns (price effects); differences in the occupational structure; and differences in the underlying distribution of assets (endowment effects). We apply the method to the differences between the Brazilian income distribution and those of the United States and Mexico, and find that most of Brazil's excess income inequality is due to underlying inequalities in the distribution of two key endowments: access to education and to sources of non-labor income, mainly pensions.

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  • Fran??ois Bourguignon & Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Phillippe G. Leite, 2002. "Beyond Oaxaca-Blinder: Accounting for Differences in Household Income Distributions Across Countries," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 478, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  • Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2002-478

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. François Bourguignon & Francisco Ferreira & Phillippe Leite, 2008. "Beyond Oaxaca–Blinder: Accounting for differences in household income distributions," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 6(2), pages 117-148, June.
    2. Daniele Checchi & Cecilia García-Peñalosa, 2010. "Labour Market Institutions and the Personal Distribution of Income in the OECD," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(307), pages 413-450, July.
    3. Bourguignon, François & Bussolo, Maurizio, 2013. "Income Distribution in Computable General Equilibrium Modeling," Handbook of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling, Elsevier.
    4. Brigitte Dormont & Anne-Laure Samson, 2007. "Intergenerational inequalities in GPs’ earnings: experience, time and cohort effects," EconomiX Working Papers 2007-34, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    5. Mery Ferrando & Cristian Pérez Muñoz & Gonzalo Salas, 2013. "Impuestos negativos a la renta en Uruguay: ¿una política redistributiva alternativa?," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE, January.
    6. Brigitte Dormont & Michel Grignon & Hélène Huber, 2006. "Health expenditure growth: reassessing the threat of ageing," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(9), pages 947-963.
    7. Hugo Ñopo, 2008. "Matching as a Tool to Decompose Wage Gaps," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 290-299, May.
    8. Hammill, Matthew, 2005. "Income inequality in Central America, Dominican Republic and Mexico: assessing the importance of individual and household characteristics," Estudios y Perspectivas – Sede Subregional de la CEPAL en México 43, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    9. Philippe G. Leite, 2005. "Race Discrimination or Inequality of Opportunities: The Brazilian Case," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 118, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
    10. Zacharias, Ajit & Vakulabharanam, Vamsi, 2011. "Caste Stratification and Wealth Inequality in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 1820-1833.
    11. Evans Jadotte, 2006. "Income Distribution and Poverty in the Republic of Haiti," Working Papers PMMA 2006-13, PEP-PMMA.
    12. Wendy Cunningham & Joyce P. Jacobsen, 2003. "Earnings Inequality Within and Across Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Groups in Latin America," Wesleyan Economics Working Papers 2003-001, Wesleyan University, Department of Economics.
    13. Callan, Tim & Keeney, Mary J. & Nolan, Brian & Maitre, Bertrand, 2004. "Why is Relative Income Poverty so High in Ireland?," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number PRS53.
    14. Emmanuel Skoufias & Gladys Lopez-Acevedo, 2009. "Latin America - Determinants of Regional Welfare Disparities within Latin American Countries : Country Case Studies," World Bank Other Operational Studies 3051, The World Bank.
    15. Jean-Louis Arcand & Béatrice D'hombres, 2004. "Racial discrimination in the Brazilian labour market: wage, employment and segregation effects," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(8), pages 1053-1066.
    16. Emmanuel Skoufias & Gladys Lopez-Acevedo, 2009. "Latin America - Determinants of Regional Welfare Disparities within Latin American Countries : Synthesis," World Bank Other Operational Studies 3048, The World Bank.
    17. Karyn Morrissey & Cathal O’Donoghue, 2009. "The Spatial Distribution of Labour Force Participation & Market Earnings at the Sub-National Level in Ireland," Working Papers 0912, Rural Economy and Development Programme,Teagasc.
    18. Cunningham, Wendy & Jacobsen, Joyce P., 2008. "Earnings inequality within and across gender, racial, and ethnic groups in four Latin American Countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4591, The World Bank.
    19. -, 2003. "L'objetif du millénaire de réduire la pauvreté en Amérique latine et dans les Caraïbes," Libros de la CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), number 70 edited by Cepalc.
    20. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Lanjouw, Peter & Neri, Marcelo Côrtes, 2003. "A Robust Poverty Profile for Brazil Using Multiple Data Sources," Revista Brasileira de Economia - RBE, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil), vol. 57(1), January.
    21. Balistreri,Edward Jay & Maliszewska,Maryla & Osorio-Rodarte,Israel & Tarr,David & Yonezawa,Hidemichi, 2016. "Poverty and shared prosperity implications of deep integration in Eastern and Southern Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7660, The World Bank.
    22. Maurizio Bussolo & Rafael E De Hoyos & Denis Medvedev, 2010. "Economic growth and income distribution: linking macro-economic models with household survey data at the global level," International Journal of Microsimulation, International Microsimulation Association, vol. 3(1), pages 92-103.
    23. repec:dau:papers:123456789/4084 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. Osvaldo Larragaña Jiménez & Juan Pablo Valenzuela, 2007. "Why hasn’t inequality changed in Chile since 1990?," Working Papers wp254, University of Chile, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Inequality; Distribution; Micro-simulations;

    JEL classification:

    • C15 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Statistical Simulation Methods: General
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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