, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 465–474 | Cite as

Does it matter who answers the race question? Racial classification and income inequality in Brazil

  • Edward E. TellesEmail author
  • Nelson Lim
Racial Classification


Previous studies ofracial inequality have relied on official statistics that presumably use self-classification of race. Using novel data from a 1995 national survey in Brazil, we find that the estimates of racial income inequality based on self-classification are lower than those based on interviewer classification. After human capital and labor market controls, whites earn 26% more than browns with interviewer classification but earn only 17% more than browns with self-classification. Black-brown differences hardly change: Blacks earn 13% and 12% less than browns with interviewer classification and self-classification, respectively. We contend that interviewer classification of race is more appropriate because analysts of racial inequality are interested in the effects of racial discrimination, which depends on how others classify one's race.


Labor Market Racial Discrimination Racial Classification Racial Inequality Social Race 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Ford FoundationRio de Janeiro OfficeNew York
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUCLALos AngelesUSA

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