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How do Economic Reforms affect the Structure of Wages? The Case of Brazilian Manufacturing, 1984-1996

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  • Jorge Saba Arbache

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Abstract

One of the established findings in the literature on inter-industry wage differentials is the long-term stability of the wage structure. In this paper, we examine how market-oriented and other economic reforms undertaken by an industrialising country affect the dispersion and structure of wages. Using a large, individual-level dataset, we find that the labour market is highly responsive to the economic reforms undertaken in Brazil in the early 1990s. Wage dispersion falls dramatically just after the implementation of economic reforms and we find evidence that the wage structure is under transition after the changes. Human capital variables gain importance in the explanation of wage differentials, while industry affiliation and institutional characteristics become less important. This finding is consistent with the labour market being flexible enough to adapt to the new economic conditions, and becoming more competitive as a result of the economic reforms.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Kent in its series Studies in Economics with number 9817.

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Date of creation: Oct 1998
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Handle: RePEc:ukc:ukcedp:9817

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Postal: Department of Economics, University of Kent at Canterbury, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NP
Phone: +44 (0)1227 764000
Fax: +44 (0)1227 827850
Web page: http://www.ukc.ac.uk/economics/

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Keywords: Economic reforms; wage structure; wage dispersion; Brazil;

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  1. Currie, Janet & Harrison, Ann E, 1997. "Sharing the Costs: The Impact of Trade Reform on Capital and Labor in Morocco," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages S44-71, July.
  2. Groshen, Erica L, 1991. "Sources of Intra-industry Wage Dispersion: How Much Do Employers Matter?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(3), pages 869-84, August.
  3. Revenga, Ana, 1997. "Employment and Wage Effects of Trade Liberalization: The Case of Mexican Manufacturing," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages S20-43, July.
  4. Carneiro, Francisco G., 1998. "Productivity effects in brazilian wage determination," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 139-153, January.
  5. Stephen Machin, 1995. "Changes in the Relative Demand for Skills in the UK Labour Market," CEP Discussion Papers dp0221, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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  7. John P. Haisken-DeNew & Christoph M. Schmidt, 2000. "Interindustry and Interregion Differentials: Mechanics and Interpretation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(3), pages 516-521, August.
  8. Amadeo, Edward J, 1994. "Bargaining Power, Mark-Up Power, and Wage Differentials in Brazil," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(3), pages 313-22, June.
  9. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1993. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing Industries: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 4255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Gittleman, Maury & Wolff, Edward N, 1993. "International Comparisons of Inter-industry Wage Differentials," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 39(3), pages 295-312, September.
  11. Jorge Saba Arbache, 1999. "A comparison of different estimates of interindustry wage differentials: the case of Brazil," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(2), pages 67-71.
  12. Cragg, Michael Ian & Epelbaum, Mario, 1996. "Why has wage dispersion grown in Mexico? Is it the incidence of reforms or the growing demand for skills?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 99-116, October.
  13. Milner, Chris & Wright, Peter, 1998. "Modelling Labour Market Adjustment to Trade Liberalisation in an Industrialising Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 509-28, March.
  14. Armando Castelar & Lauro Ramos, 1994. "Inter-Industry wage differentials and earnings inequality in Brazil," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 21(esp Year ), pages 79-111, November.
  15. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-93, March.
  16. Francis Teal, 1995. "The size and sources of economic rents in a developing country manufacturing labour market," CSAE Working Paper Series 1995-06, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  17. William T. Dickens & Lawrence F. Katz, 1986. "Interindustry Wage Differences and Industry Characteristics," NBER Working Papers 2014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Desjonqueres, Thibaut & Machin, Stephen & Van Reenen, John, 1999. " Another Nail in the Coffin? Or Can the Trade Based Explanation of Changing Skill Structures Be Resurrected?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 101(4), pages 533-54, December.
  19. Halvorsen, Robert & Palmquist, Raymond, 1980. "The Interpretation of Dummy Variables in Semilogarithmic Equations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 474-75, June.
  20. Gatica, Jaime & Mizala, Alejandra & Romaguera, Pilar, 1995. "Interindustry Wage Differentials in Brazil," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(2), pages 315-31, January.
  21. Alan B. Krueger & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Reflections on the Inter-Industry Wage Structure," NBER Working Papers 1968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Edwards, Sebastian, 1988. "Terms of Trade, Tariffs, and Labor Market Adjustment in Developing Countries," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 2(2), pages 165-85, May.
  23. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "Industrial Wage and Employment Determination in an Open Economy," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration, Trade and the Labor Market, pages 235-259 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Sakellariou, Chris N., 1995. "Human capital and industry wage structure in Guatemala," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1445, The World Bank.
  25. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Howard J. Shatz, 1994. "Trade and Jobs in Manufacturing," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 1-84.
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