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Occupational structure, polarization of income inequality: a comparative study between Brazil and the United States

Grant number: 12/17687-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): January 02, 2013
Effective date (End): March 01, 2013
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Economics - Social Welfare Economics
Principal Investigator:Alexandre Gori Maia
Grantee:Alexandre Gori Maia
Host Investigator: Arthur Sakamoto
Host Institution: Instituto de Economia (IE). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Texas at Austin (UT), United States  


The aim of this study is to analyze the relationship between the structure of occupations, polarization and income inequality in Brazil and in the United States (US). Specifically, the project aims to analyze: i) how differences between the occupational structures in Brazil and in the US help explaining the different stages of inequality and polarization of income within and between these countries; ii) how changes in the labor market and in the structure of occupations affected the distribution of income in these countries. Analyses will be based on micro-data from the Brazilian Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicílios (PNAD) and the American Current Population Survey (CPS) between 1981 and 2009. The hypotheses under analysis are: i) the expressive share of low-skilled and low-wage laborers in Brazil play an important role in determining the higher level of socio-economic inequality in this country in comparison with the US; ii) the faster development of the labor market in Brazil in the 2000s, especially the expressive reduction of low-skilled and low-wage occupations, play an important role in reducing socio-economic differences within this country, as well as attenuating the differences in relation to the US. The results will be presented in three main parts: i) a theoretical review of the relationship between the occupational structure and the level of socio-economic development and inequality; ii) the contribution of the occupational structure in determining the level of inequality within each country and between these two countries; iii) the contribution of occupational structure in determining the level of polarization of income in Brazil and the US. Results in the first part of the study will be based on literature review and they aim to explain how the different stages of socio-economic development and socio-economic inequality would be associated with different structures of occupations. In the second part, the study aims to decompose inequality indicators and to fit multiple regression models in order to evaluate the contribution of the structure of occupations in explaining the differences of income within each country and between Brazil and the US. The third part will use indicators of polarization of income in order to evaluate how the accumulation of low-wage and low-skilled occupations help explaining the higher level of polarization of income in Brazil in comparison with the US. (AU)

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