Brazilian Income Would Be 17% Lower With No Immigrants, Study Says

Researchers discovered that earnings of Brazilians with non-Iberian surnames is higher than average

Ana Estela de Sousa Pinto
São Paulo

Brazilians' per capita income could be 17% lower today if the country hadn't kept an immigration-friendly policy in the past, says a study recently published by Ipea (Institute of Applied Economic Research).

Researchers Daniel Lopes and Leonardo Monasterio, the latter also a professor at the Catholic University of Brasília, estimated what would happen with the population's income if it was composed only of white people with Iberian last names, instead of including other ethnic groups that settled in Brazil in the previous centuries. 

The starting point was a "surname dictionary" created from 1.7 million immigration records. Artificial intelligence software used this database to determine the origins of 165 million Brazilian of different walks of life.

Then, they made a statistical calculation to measure the impact of immigrant origins in two indicators: per capita income of Brazilian cities and in the salaries of full-time workers.

Kouotou Yamaya Mouhamed, from Cameroon, is part of a new batch of immigrant hires in a logistic company - Folhapress

The gain associated with the participation of Brazilians of Japanese descent is worth noting. For each 1% of Japanese descendants in the population, a city's income would increase US$ 6 (R$ 23)
Another estimate was made based on individual data for people employed in the private sector, 23 to 60 years old, working at least 40 hours a week.

In this segment, the impact was even higher. People with Japanese surnames had salaries 17.8% higher than others with Iberian last names when compared with the control groups. Italian surnames had 6.5% higher wages, German ones, 7.7% and Eastern European last names, 7.2%.

According to Monasterio, it's imperative to study the effects of immigration, especially in the present moment: "Brazil is still a very closed society, and it's important to understand that immigrants contribute to society's economic fabric."

Translated by NATASHA MADOV

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