Growth, Inequality, and Poverty: Prospects for Pro-Poor Economic Development

By Anthony Shorrocks; Rolph Van Der Hoeven | Go to book overview

for researchers. 15 These advances hold out the promise of improvements in our understanding of the interaction between educational outcomes and the distribution of income.

Fourth, if our analysis shed any light on the impact of an educational expansion on the distribution of income in Ceará, it was on the crucial role played by household dynamics in the process. We saw that the State appears to have something of a 'reserve army', awaiting conditions to enter paid or self-employment. As in other places where educational levels rose rapidly, this is to a large extent composed of women. 16 As they acquire education and enter the labour force, their fertility behaviour also changes, reducing the number of children in the family.

In income terms, each of these tendencies is positive for the families to which they belong. In fact, the participation and demographic changes arising from educational expansion account for a substantial share of the overall poverty reduction impact. Figures 11.8 illustrate the great importance of these gender-sensitive effects on the overall welfare of poor families. In the labour market, however, a large inflow of women into relatively underprivileged segments may generate downward wage pressure or enhance job competition. The extent to which Ceará will be able to capitalize on a more educated labour force depends, in large measure, on how effectively it ensures a level playing field for its women.

In closing, it should be noted that a number of important choices, or dimensions of household and worker behaviour, remained outside the scope of our analysis. Key amongst these is the possible decision to migrate. Greater endowments of education might affect the flows of migrants within the state—say, from rural areas to metropolitan Fortaleza—or outwards from the state. These decisions are likely to be determined by the relative conditions of labour demand, and thus wages, in these areas, and in other states. This falls outside the scope of this simple model, but this does not make it any less important a concern for policy-makers.


REFERENCES

Barros, R., Henriques, R., and Mendonça, R. (2000). 'Pelo Fim das Décadas Perdidas: Educação e Desenvolvimento Sustentado no Brasil'. In R. Henriques (ed.) Desigualdade e Pobreza no Brasil. IPEA, Rio de Janeiro.

Bourguignon, F., Ferreira, F. H. G., and Lustig, N. (1998). 'The Microeconomics of Income Distribution Dynamics in East Asia and Latin America'. The World Bank DECRA, Washington. Mimeo.

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