The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper uses Engel curves to estimate real income growth in Brazil. The estimated per capita household real income growth in metropolitan areas during 1987-2002 is about 41/2 percent per year, well above the "headline" growth of 11/2 percent obtained by deflating nominal incomes by the CPI. This suggests a substantial CPI bias during that period, likely owing to one-off effects of trade liberalization and inflation stabilization. The estimated unmeasured gains are higher for poorer households, implying a marked reduction in "real" inequality. This finding challenges the conventional wisdom that post-reform real income growth in Brazil was low.