Education, Inequality, and Poverty in Brazil: Policy and Its Limitations

Could past educational expansion have reduced earnings inequality and income poverty in Brazil? Using data from three censuses and 35 national household surveys (PNAD), guest speaker Marcelo Medeiros and his research team observed important limitations to what educational policies can do.

According to Medeiros, it would take many decades to reduce inequality and poverty, and only a significant scale-up of university education would bring about significantly lower levels of the two. The growth required to make that possible would have to 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 for poverty and inequality. These results are robust when tested with different data sources, in different decades, and using various measures of inequality and poverty.

Trained in sociology and economics, Medeiros researches social inequalities as a senior researcher at the Brazilian Institute for Applied Economic Research. He received the Fred L. Soper Award from the World Health Organization for the best study in public health in 2012. He has published extensively in the areas of social inequality and mobility, demography, health, education, time use, poverty, development theory, disability, and social protection.

This special event is sponsored by the LLILAS Benson Brazil Center in collaboration with LAESER, the Laboratory for Ethnic and Race Equity.

Friday, March 29, 2019 at 3:00pm to 4:30pm

Patton Hall (RLP), 1.306
305 23RD ST E, Austin, Texas 78712

Event Type

Academics, Policy & Law, Diversity


College of Liberal Arts

Target Audience

Students, General Public



Free and open to the public

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