Michele Aparecida Nepomuceno Pinto

The general objective of this thesis is to study the process of structural change: what are its main determinants and what are the impacts of such structural change on Brazilian economic growth and labor market. For this, we propose three essays. The first essay, entitled “The role of human capital in the structural change process” aims to provide evidence to determine whether human capital is an important determinant of structural change in different sectors of the economy and whether it can accelerate the speed of this structural transformation. Results show that human capital has an essential role in the structural change process of the economy, as well as accelerates it, in a way that contributes to speeding up the transition process between sectors of the economy. The second essay, entitled “The role of structural change in Brazilian states’ economic growth: a spatial approach” aims to analyze the determinants of Brazilian regional growth, emphasizing the role of structural change, especially the role of the more technological and knowledge-intensive sectors, and to verify the possible spatial spillover of structural change on the economic growth of the Brazilian states in the period from 1970 to 2010. Using a dynamic spatial data panel, the results confirm the need to address spatial dependency in the model and indicate a positive impact of structural change on states’ GDP per capita as well as confirm the hypothesis of a positive spatial spillover impact of the structural change. The third essay, entitled “Testing the U-shaped female labor participation rate hypothesis in Brazil: the role of structural change” aims to verify the existence of a U-shaped relationship between the female labor participation rate and the process of economic development in Brazil in the 1970-2010 period within the framework of the feminization U hypothesis, and, mainly, to analyze the role of structural change in promoting female labor force participation. The results provide evidence in favor of the U-shaped FLPR hypothesis for the Brazilian case. Additionally, a positive and significant effect was found for the structural change variable used, which shows a positive impact of the structural transformation in FLPR in the period.