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Economics student, Mateo Clarke

Awarded Best Undergraduate Paper at 2010 Southern Demographic Association meeting

Posted: October 12, 2010

Mr. Clarke (UT-Austin) was a participant of the 2010 Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in Immigration, Race/Ethnicity, and Geography. He was mentored by PRC faculty research associates, Nestor Rodriguez and Rebecca Torres and PRC Graduate Trainee, Dustin Brown. The program is primarily funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (Grant No. SMA-1004809). Over the summer, students are expected to develop a research project and to produce a scholarly paper on a topic of their choosing. Currently, Mr. Clarke is a senior studying Economics and Latin American Studies at UT with plans to continue on to graduate school in international public policy and development. His project was inspired by the year he spent as a high school exchange student in Brazil and his volunteer work with immigrants in New Orleans and Austin.

His paper, entitled “Race, Immigration, and Income: The Brazilian Case - Economic Outcomes for Brazilians in the United States” uses Census data from IPUMS to examine income disparities between Afro-Brazilians and white Brazilians in the United States. Since the 1980’s, a relatively new phenomenon of Brazilian immigration to North America has emerged.  According to the U.S. Census, the number of foreign-born Brazilians in the United States grew from 212,428 in 2000 to 332,632 in 2008. Other government sources place the number of Brazilians in the U.S. as high as 1.1 million.  It is widely cited that the initial increase in Brazilian migration revolves around the weakness of the Brazilian economy in the 1980s and 90s.  Mateo's  study assessed the labor market outcomes of black Brazilian migrants to the United States compared to their white Brazilian migrant counterparts.  It also compares the difference in earnings between these two groups to the differences in earnings between black and white native born U.S. citizens. Using pooled cross sectional data from the 2000 U.S. Census and the American Community Survey from 2001 to 2008, Mr. Clarke examined which race/nativity, demographic, and human capital variables contribute most the economic disparities between blacks and whites born in the U.S. and in Brazil.  The results show that (1) Afro-Brazilians do make considerably less on average than their white Brazilian counterparts but the human capital variables account for most of this disparity.  It also shows that (2) the difference in earnings between Brazilians of different races is not a wide as that between US American blacks and whites.  This is one of the first studies which focuses on labor market outcomes for Afro-Brazilians.  With stronger and more accurate Census data, more conclusions could be made about this growing population.

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