The Evolution of gender and racial occupational segregation in Brazil – 1987 to 2006

Working Paper 2012-243


This paper provides a unique analysis of the evolution of gender and racial occupational segregation in Brazil from 1987-2006. Drawing on a novel dataset, constructed by harmonizing national household data over twenty years, the paper provides extensive new insights in the nature and evolution of occupational segregation over time, while also providing important new insights into the forces driving these changes. The results presented here expand upon existing research in the developing world in several directions. First, the new dataset constructed for this study allows the analysis to cover a longer time period than has previously been possible. Second, the analysis explores both gender and racial segregation side by side. Third, all of the analysis is conducted for the labour market as a whole, and disaggregated into the formal, informal and self-employed labour markets. Fourth, the paper decomposes the key driving forces that lie behind trends in occupational segregation. The paper presents three major findings: first, gender segregation is always considerably greater than racial occupational segregation, but racial segregation has been more persistent over time and has several features that make it comparatively worrisome; second, while occupational segregation is declining by both gender and race, the decline has been greater in the formal labour market. Third, the decomposition of segregation measures over time reveals that changes in the internal gender and racial composition of occupations has driven improvements over time. These important differences between formal and non-formal labour markets provide preliminary insights into the possible importance of formal labour market policies and institutions in shaping outcomes.

Authors: Paola Salardi .

Keywords: Brazil, Gender, Race, Occupational Segregation, Informality.
JEL: J15, J16, J71, O17, O54.