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Are men benefiting from the new economy : male economic marginalization in Argentina, Brazil, and Costa Rica

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  • Arias, Omar
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    Abstract

    The economies of Latin America have undergone extensive reforms, raising concerns about how these changes have affected the labor market. But there is also increasing concern that the reforms may have deeper social ramifications as the new economies strain the ability of certain groups of men to work and to earn good wages, fulfilling their traditional role as providers. Using household surveys broadly covering the period 1988-97 in urban areas of Argentina, Brazil, and Costa Rica, Arias examines the patterns of unemployment and real wage growth for distinct groups of male workers to see whether there is evidence of a deterioration in men's ability to be economically self-sufficient. He finds no general trend of male economic marginalization. The incidence and duration of unemployment have increased the most for the typically vulnerable group-young, less educated, informal sector workers-but the increased duration of unemployment hasalso affected older and more educated men. With respect to wages, density and quantile regression analysis indicates that the usual stories of wage marginalization of vulnerable workers can hardly explain the observed variety of wage growth patterns in the three countries. The positive wage performance has been concentrated mainly in the higher quantiles of the conditional wage distribution. This suggests that differences in unobservable worker characteristics, such as industriousness, labor market connections, and quality of schooling, have been key determinants of the ability of male workers in the region to adapt to economic restructuring. These results suggest that assistance should be targeted to some groups so that frustrations in asserting an economic identity do not lead to aggressive behavior. But they also show that we must look elsewhere for the roots of the increase in socially dysfunctional behavior.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2740.

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    Date of creation: 31 Dec 2001
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    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2740

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    Related research

    Keywords: Labor Policies; Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Banks&Banking Reform; Public Health Promotion; Environmental Economics&Policies; Environmental Economics&Policies; Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Youth and Governance; Banks&Banking Reform; Economic Theory&Research;

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    1. Wood, Adrian, 1997. "Openness and Wage Inequality in Developing Countries: The Latin American Challenge to East Asian Conventional Wisdom," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(1), pages 33-57, January.
    2. Eli Berman & John Bound & Stephen Machin, 1997. "Implications of Skill-Biased Technological Change: International Evidence," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 78, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
    3. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
    4. Schultz, T.P. & Mwabu, G., 1995. "Education Returns Across Quantiles of the Wage Function: Alternative Explanation for Returns to Education by Race in South Africa," Papers 744, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
    5. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
    6. Omar Arias & Kevin F. Hallock & Walter Sosa Escudero, 1999. "Individual Heterogeneity in the Returns to Schooling: Instrumental Variables Quantile Regression using Twins Data," Department of Economics, Working Papers 016, Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    7. Roger Koenker & Kevin F. Hallock, 2001. "Quantile Regression," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 143-156, Fall.
    8. Maloney, William F. & Pontual Ribeiro, Eduardo, 1999. "Efficiency wage and union effects in labor demand and wage structure in Mexico - An application of quantile analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2131, The World Bank.
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