Inequality of Outcomes and Inequality of Opportunities in Brazil

45 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2004

See all articles by Francois Bourguignon

Francois Bourguignon

Paris School of Economics

Francisco H. G. Ferreira

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Marta Menendez

Department and Laboratory of Applied and Theoretical Economics (DELTA)

Date Written: November 2003

Abstract

This paper departs from John Roemer's theory of equality of opportunities. We seek to determine what part of observed outcome inequality may be attributed to differences in observed 'circumstances', including family background, and what part is due to 'personal efforts'. We use a micro-econometric technique to simulate what the distribution of outcomes would look like if 'circumstances' were the same for everybody. This technique is applied to Brazilian data from the 1996 household survey, both for earnings and for household incomes. It is shown that observed circumstances are a major source of outcome inequality in Brazil, probably more so than in other countries for which information is available. Nevertheless, the level of inequality after observed circumstances are equalized remains very high in Brazil.

Keywords: Inequality of Opportunities, Intergenerational Educational Mobility

JEL Classification: D31, D63, J62

Suggested Citation

Bourguignon, François and Ferreira, Francisco H. G. and Menendez, Marta, Inequality of Outcomes and Inequality of Opportunities in Brazil (November 2003). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=497242

François Bourguignon (Contact Author)

Paris School of Economics ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

Francisco H. G. Ferreira

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States
202-473-4382 (Phone)

Marta Menendez

Department and Laboratory of Applied and Theoretical Economics (DELTA) ( email )

48 boulevard Jourdan
75014 Paris
France

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