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Private Sector Wages and Poverty in Ghana: 1988-1998

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  • Francis Teal
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    Abstract

    Real wage rises for the unskilled are one mechanism by which poor people can obtain rises in their incomes and a reduction in their economic vulnerability. In this paper it is shown that over a period in Ghana when measured poverty declined, 1988 to 1992, real wages for the unskilled rose, by about 11 per cent. Over the 1990s evidence from the manufacturing sector suggests substantial falls in the real wages of the unskilled, some 23-26 per cent between 1992 and 1998. In the longer term such wages are lower than those of the mid 1980s and approximately one-third the level of the early 1970s. Even if poverty can be reduced in this context, any fall in poverty will omit one of the most vulnerable groups of the working population. There is evidence that high rates of inflation and low investment are two factors explaining these falls in real wages.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number WPS/2000-06.

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    Date of creation: 01 Apr 2000
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    Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:wps/2000-06

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    1. Glewwe, Paul, 1996. "The relevance of standard estimates of rates of return to schooling for education policy: A critical assessment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 267-290, December.
    2. Francis Teal, 1999. "The Ghanaian manufacturing sector 1991-95: Firm growth, productivity and convergence," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(1), pages 109-127.
    3. Demery, Lionel & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "Macroeconomic Adjustment and Poverty in Africa: An Emerging Picture," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 11(1), pages 39-59, February.
    4. Francis Teal, 1999. "Why Can Mauritius Export Manufactures and Ghana Not?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(7), pages 981-993, 09.
    5. Young, Alwyn, 1995. "The Tyranny of Numbers: Confronting the Statistical Realities of the East Asian Growth Experience," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 641-80, August.
    6. Horton, Susan & Kanbur, Ravi & Mazumdar, Dipak, 1991. "Labor markets in an era of adjustment : an overview," Policy Research Working Paper Series 694, The World Bank.
    7. Francis Teal, 1999. "Why can Mauritius export manufactures and Ghana not?," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1999-10, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    8. Simon Appleton & John Hoddinott & John MacKinnon, 1996. "Education and health in sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(3), pages 307-339.
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