Texto para Discussão, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (IPEA) 1832
This paper documents and tries to explain the discrepancies between the income distributions reported by the three major household surveys in Brazil: the Census, the Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicílios (PNAD) and the Pesquisa de Orçamentos Familiares (POF). The main hypothesis is that key differences in survey design are responsible for these results, which can be remedied by a relatively small number of harmonization procedures. Our analysis largely confirms this hypothesis: the harmonized data yields very consistent results in the Census, the PNAD and the POF. Although the levels of income, inequality and poverty are not exactly the same, the trends are very similar: income growth, the fall in inequality and poverty reduction in the past decade can be considered well-established facts. Most of the differences between the income data in the three surveys can be explained by disparities in sample design, conceptual framework and the statistical treatment of the data. Thus, it is not surprising that the three surveys report divergent figures, as they are not directly comparable.
household surveys income distribution income inequality income poverty