Intergenerational transfers and socioeconomic inequality in Brazil: a first look

Type Conference Paper - Taller sobre Transformaciones Demograficas,Transferencias Intergeneracionales y Proteccion Social en America Latina, CELADE
Title Intergenerational transfers and socioeconomic inequality in Brazil: a first look
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2005
City Santiago
Country/State Chile
There is an increasing concern of how demographic changes, especially population aging, might affect intergenerational transfers, macroeconomic variables and the public fiscal balance. However, there is little research discussing whether intergenerational transfers, private and public, are equally distributed across different socioeconomic groups and whether they contribute to the reduction of income inequality and poverty, especially in less developed economies. This paper examines the interactions between demographic changes, intergenerational transfers and socioeconomic inequality in Brazil. Our results indicate that family transfers have greater importance for children, especially those in wealthier families. Children of poorer families rely more heavily on public transfers. This is not true, however, for the elderly. We show that elderly consumption, for all socioeconomic groups, depends largely on public transfers. The paper shows that poor children receive the least amount of public and private transfers, at least in the cross section perspective. We argue that differences in political power across age groups and socioeconomic status as well as which socioeconomic groups benefit from the same programs might help explain those outcomes. The paper provides important insights into how differences in intergenerational transfers across socioeconomic groups help explain the perverse cycle of inequality and poverty in Brazil.

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