Working Paper 2010-179
The aim of this paper is to provide some empirical evidence about black-white differentials in the distribution of income and wellbeing in three different countries: Brazil, US and South Africa. In all cases, people of African descent are in a variety of ways socially disadvantaged compared with the relatively more affluent whites. We investigate the extent of these gaps in comparative perspective, and analyze to what degree they can be explained by differences in the observed characteristics of races, such as where they live, the types of household they have, or their performance in the labor market. We undertake this analysis with the Oaxaca-Blinder approach at the means and with the DiNardo-Fortin-Lemieux approach at the entire distribution. Our results show how the factors underlying the racial divide vary across countries and income quantiles.