Educational Expansion, Inequality and Poverty Reduction in Brazil: A Simulation Study

32 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2018 Last revised: 30 Jul 2018

See all articles by Marcelo Medeiros

Marcelo Medeiros

IPEA - Institute for Applied Economic Research; UnB - University of Brasilia

Rogério Jerônimo Baborsa

Center for Metropolitan Studies; University of São Paulo, Students

Flavio Carvalhaes

UFRJ

Date Written: July 20, 2018

Abstract

Using retrospective simulations, we examine whether educational expansions in the past could have reduced earnings inequality and income poverty in Brazil. We use data from three censuses and 35 national household surveys (PNAD). The simulations indicate that there are important limitations to what educational policies can do: it would take many decades to reduce inequality and poverty and only a significant scale-up of university education would lead to much lower levels of inequality and poverty. The growth required to have made that possible would have been impressive. Such a reduction could also only have occurred under optimistic assumptions about growth, job-skill matching, and non-declining returns to education. In short, education is not a panacea to poverty and inequality. These results are robust when tested with different data sources, in different decades, and using various measures of inequality and poverty. Our results provide a standard to gauge the effects of other policies in education-equivalent terms.

Keywords: Income Inequality, Poverty, Education, Economic Growth

JEL Classification: I24

Suggested Citation

Medeiros, Marcelo and Jerônimo Baborsa, Rogério and Carvalhaes, Flavio, Educational Expansion, Inequality and Poverty Reduction in Brazil: A Simulation Study (July 20, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3189211 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3189211

Marcelo Medeiros (Contact Author)

IPEA - Institute for Applied Economic Research ( email )

SBS-01, Ed. BNDES
1610
Brasilia, DF 70076-900
Brazil

HOME PAGE: http://www.ipea.gov.br

UnB - University of Brasilia ( email )

Campus Universitário Darcy Ribeiro
Brasilia, Distrito Federal 70910-900
Brazil

HOME PAGE: http://buscatextual.cnpq.br/buscatextual/visualizacv.do?metodo=apresentar&id=K4798836T3

Rogério Jerônimo Baborsa

Center for Metropolitan Studies ( email )

São Paulo, São Paulo
Brazil

University of São Paulo, Students ( email )

São Paulo
Brazil

Flavio Carvalhaes

UFRJ

Av. Pedro Calmon, 550
Cidade Universitária, Ilha do Fundão
Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro 21941901
Brazil
+552139389600 (Phone)

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