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Minimum Wages, Globalization and Poverty in Honduras

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Author Info

  • Gindling, T. H.

    ()
    (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)

  • Terrell, Katherine

    (University of Michigan)

Abstract

To be competitive in the global economy, some argue that Latin American countries need to reduce or eliminate labor market regulations such as minimum wage legislation because they constrain job creation and hence increase poverty. On the other hand, minimum wage increases can have a direct positive impact on family income and may therefore help to reduce poverty. We take advantage of a complex minimum wage system in a poor country that has been exposed to the forces of globalization to test whether minimum wages are an effective poverty reduction tool in this environment. We find that minimum wage increases in Honduras reduce extreme poverty, with an elasticity of -0.18, and all poverty, with an elasticity of -0.10 (using the national poverty lines). These results are driven entirely by the effect on workers in large private sector firms, where minimum wage legislation is enforced. Increases in the minimum do not affect the incidence of poverty in sectors where minimum wages are not enforced (small firms) or do not apply (self-employed and public sector).

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2497.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2497

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Keywords: minimum wage; poverty; Central America; Honduras;

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References

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  1. Nidardo, J. & Fortin, N. & Lemieux, T., 1994. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Papers 93-94-15, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Alaniz, Enrique & Gindling, T.H. & Terrell, Katherine, 2011. "The impact of minimum wages on wages, work and poverty in Nicaragua," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(S1), pages S45-S59.
  2. Pauw, Karl & Leibbrandt, Murray, 2012. "Minimum Wages and Household Poverty: General Equilibrium Macro–Micro Simulations for South Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 771-783.
  3. Basu, Arnab K & Chau, Nancy H & Kanbur, Ravi, 2011. "Contractual Dualism, Market Power and Informality," CEPR Discussion Papers 8485, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. ArnabK. Basu & NancyH. Chau & Ravi Kanbur, 2010. "Turning a Blind Eye: Costly Enforcement, Credible Commitment and Minimum Wage Laws," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(543), pages 244-269, 03.
  5. Jose Antonio Cordero, 2009. "Honduras: Recent Economic Performance," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2009-42, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
  6. Kapelyuk Sergey, 2014. "Impact of minimum wage on income distribution and poverty in Russia," EERC Working Paper Series 14/03e, EERC Research Network, Russia and CIS.
  7. Leif Danziger, 2009. "Noncompliance and the Effects of the Minimum Wage on Hours and Welfare in Competitive Labor Markets," CESifo Working Paper Series 2786, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Basu, Arnab K. & Chau, Nancy & Siddique, Zahra, 2011. "Tax Evasion, Minimum Wage Non-Compliance and Informality," IZA Discussion Papers 6228, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. World Bank, 2012. "Better Jobs in Central America : The Role of Human Capital," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11924, The World Bank.

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