Poverty, inequality and social welfare in Brazil, 1981-1995
This thesis investigates the nature and evolution of the Brazilian income distribution during the 1980s and first half of the 1990s. The thesis presents a profile of the Brazilian income distribution, of the level and structure of poverty and inequality, and analyses how these have changed over time, making wider comparisons of social welfare. The empirical results are derived through application of best practice techniques of distributional analysis to micro-data from a large, annual and nationally representative household survey that permits estimation of comparable measures of poverty and inequality over time. Chapter 1 provides the background to the debate on poverty and inequality in Brazil, reviewing recent macroeconomic policy and performance and key empirical studies from the 1960s onwards. Chapter 2 presents and discusses the household data set, methodological issues in measuring incomes, poverty and inequality and presents the main tools of analysis that are applied in subsequent chapters. Chapter 3 analyses levels and changes in incomes, poverty and inequality, and tests the statistical significance of changes over time and robustness of results to assumptions about the degree of household economies of scale and to variations in the poverty line. Chapter 4 examines the structure of inequality focussing on a number of characteristics of the household and household head, including location and family type of the households, and age, gender, race and education of the household head. Changes in the structure of inequality are also analysed. Chapter 5 investigates the structure of poverty, examining the role of key characteristics of the population and how these have changed between 1981 and 1995. Chapter 6 concludes, discussing the policy implications of the results and possible avenues of further research.