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Latin American Labor Markets in the 1990s: Deciphering the Decade

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  • Suzanne Duryea
  • Olga Lucia Jaramillo
  • Carmen Pagés-Serra

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Abstract

This paper analyzes the recent performance of Latin American labor markets. We find that unemployment rates are on the rise in most countries and sub-regions of Latin America. The rise in unemployment over the 1990s is not driven by a higher proportion of women, adults or urban workers in the labor force, nor can it be attributed to an increasing demand for skilled workers. In a few countries, increasing unemployment is caused by falling employment rates. In the rest, unemployment rates can be explained by a large rise in participation that has not been fully absorbed by increases in employment. We also find that a large and in many countries growing proportion of workers are employed at jobs that pay very low wages. Finally, returns to higher education are increasing while returns to secondary education are declining in almost all countries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 4331.

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Date of creation: May 2003
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4331

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  1. Levenson, Alec R. & Maloney, William F., 1998. "The informal sector, firm dynamics, and institutional participation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1988, The World Bank.
  2. Suzanne Duryea & Alejandra Cox Edwards & Manuelita Ureta, 2001. "Women in the LAC Labor Market: The Remarkable 1990’s," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 500, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  3. Suzanne Duryea & Carmen Pagés-Serra, 2002. "Human Capital Policies: What they Can and Cannot Do for Productivity and Poverty Reduction in Latin America," Research Department Publications 4297, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
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Cited by:
  1. Ferroni, Marco & Mateo, Mercedes & Payne, Mark, 2008. "Development under conditions of inequality and distrust: Social cohesion in Latin America," IFPRI discussion papers 777, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  2. Alejandro Badel & Ximena Peña, 2010. "Decomposing the gender wage gap with sample selection adjustment: evidence from Colombia," Working Papers 2010-045, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

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