The Indian Journal of Labour Economics

, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 39–55 | Cite as

Inequality and the labour market: comparing India and Brazil

  • Gerry Rodgers


This article, which draws on a collaborative research project between institutes in India and Brazil, examines the patterns of inequality in the two countries, and their relationship with economic development. In Brazil inequality rose in the period up to the 1980s, but has since been falling; in India, inequality was stable or falling slightly until the 1980s, but has since been rising. The article discusses some of the sources of these long term trends, with particular reference to the growth regimes and labour markets in each country. It considers the role of social, political and economic forces and institutions in Brazil and India during different periods of time, and the influence of labour market structures and relationships. The article concludes by comparing the ways in which state interventions try to reduce inequality in each country, notably through income transfers, employment creation and labour market policies.


Inequality Brazil India Labour market Social policy Economic growth 

References (For other papers see

  1. Barbosa, Alexandre de Freitas, Maria Cristina Cacciamali and Gerry Rodgers, Growth and Inequality: The contrasting stories of Brazil and India, Cambridge University Press, New Delhi (in press).Google Scholar
  2. Barbosa, Alexandre de Freitas, Maria Cristina Cacciamali, Gerry Rodgers and Fabio Tatei (2015), “Minimum wage in Brazil: A useful policy tool to reduce wage inequality?”, in Gregory Randolph and Knut Panknin (eds.), Global Wage Debates: Politics or Economics, JustJobs Network, September.Google Scholar
  3. Boyer, Robert (1994), “Do labour institutions matter for economic development? A “Régulation” Approach for the OECD and Latin America with an extension to Asia”, in Gerry Rodgers (ed.), Workers, Institutions and Economic Growth in Asia, International Institute for Labour Studies, Geneva.Google Scholar
  4. Cacciamali, Maria Cristina, Taniya Chakrabarty, Gerry Rodgers and Fabio Tatei (2015a), “Minimum Wage Policy in Brazil and India and its Impact in Labour Market Inequality”, Institute for Human Development Working Paper 02/2015, New Delhi.Google Scholar
  5. Cacciamali, Maria Cristina, Gerry Rodgers, Vidya Soundararajan and Fabio Tatei (2015b), “Wage Inequality in Brazil and India: A Quantitative Comparative Analysis”, Institute for Human Development Working Paper WP03/2015, New Delhi.Google Scholar
  6. De, Rahul and Vamsi Vakulabharanam (2013), Growth and distribution regimes in India after Independence, paper presented at the World Economics Association Conference on Inequalities in Asia, 12 May–8 June.Google Scholar
  7. Drèze, Jean and Amartya Sen (2013), An Uncertain Glory, India and Its Contradictions, Allen Lane, London.Google Scholar
  8. Hall, Peter and David Soskice (2001), Varieties of capitalism: The institutional foundation of comparative advantage, Oxford University Press, Oxford.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Nachane, D.M. (ed.) (2011), India Development Report, 2011, Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research, Oxford University Press, New Delhi.Google Scholar
  10. Rodgers, Gerry and Vidhya Soundararajan (2016), Patterns of Inequality in India, 1983-2011/12, Academic Foundation and Institute for Human Development, New Delhi.Google Scholar
  11. UNU-WIDER (2015), World Income Inequality Database WIID 3.3,, Accessed on 20 September, 2016.

Copyright information

© Indian Society of Labour Economics 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Human DevelopmentNew DelhiIndia

Personalised recommendations