A PEP-supported study examines ethnic inequality traps in education in Latin America

Empirical evidence from Brazil and Chile

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        Results suggest that, while average education and upward mobility have risen, ethnic disparities remain significant in Latin America; especially in Brazil, where researchers have found evidence of an educational inequality trap for Afro-Brazilians

This study aimed to examine suggestive evidence of an ethnic inequality trap in educational attainment in the countries of Brazil and Chile. Seeking to address an existing gap in the related scientific literature, the PEP-supported researchers propose an empirical approach to assess certain conditions which might imply the existence of such inequality trap.

The main results indicate that while average education and upward mobility have risen in both countries, ethnic disparities remain significant. In particular, the evidence is suggestive of an educational inequality trap for Afro-Brazilians. Meanwhile, however, the findings are less conclusive in regards to a trap for indigenous individuals in Chile. Nonetheless, the results reflect the need for education policies and/or programs targeting ethnic groups in two ways: 1) compensation (or affirmative action) mechanisms to lower current inequality, and 2) increasing demand and supply at higher educational levels to prevent the persistence of low level outcomes and disparities throughout the educational distribution.

To find out more about the researchers’ findings and proposed policy solutions, follow the links below to access the related PEP publications

PEP Working Paper 2012-05 and Policy Brief 93

Based on PEP-supported project PMMA-12219

Researchers: Guillermo Cruces Adriana Conconi Andres Ham Fedora Carbajal Marcelo Bérgolo

To find more recent findings and policy recommendations from PEP-supported studies, see Recent findings from PEP researchers in developing countries

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