Why is Poverty so High Among Afro-Brazilians? A Decomposition Analysis of the Racial Poverty Gap

36 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2007

Date Written: May 2007


This study aimed to identify the major factors underlying the large discrepancy in poverty levels between two Brazilian racial groups: whites and Afro-Brazilians. We performed an Oaxaca-Blinder-type decomposition for nonlinear regressions in order to quantify the extent to which differences in observed geographic, sociodemographic, and labor characteristics (characteristics effect) account for this difference. The remaining unexplained part (coefficients effect) provides evidence on how these characteristics differentially impact on the risk of poverty in each group. A detailed decomposition of both effects allows the individual contribution of each characteristic to be determined. Our results show that the characteristics effect explains a large part of the discrepancy in poverty levels, with education and labor variables of household members explaining at least one half of the effect, and geographic and demographic variables accounting for the remainder. However, the unexplained part that remains significant has increased in importance in recent last years, and probably results from unequal access to high-quality education and the persistence of discrimination against colored workers in the labor market.

Keywords: poverty, gap, race, skin color, decomposition, Oaxaca-Blinder, Brazil, PNAD, labor market, participation, education, household characteristics

JEL Classification: D31, D63, J15, J82, O15

Suggested Citation

Gradín Lago, Carlos Manuel, Why is Poverty so High Among Afro-Brazilians? A Decomposition Analysis of the Racial Poverty Gap (May 2007). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2809, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=995479

Carlos Manuel Gradín Lago (Contact Author)

University of Vigo ( email )

As Lagoas Marcosende s/n
Departmento de Economia Aplicada
36200 Vigo
+34 986 812514 (Phone)
+34 986 812401 (Fax)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics