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Worker Centers and Day Laborers’ Wages


  • Edwin J. Meléndez
  • M. Anne Visser
  • Nik Theodore
  • Abel Valenzuela Jr.


type="main"> The objective of this study was to assess the impact of day laborer worker centers on the hourly wages earned by day laborers. Using data from the National Day Labor Survey, a two-step method was estimated to measure the wage impacts of day labor worker centers, and to control for endogeneity and selection bias. Estimated wages were compared across hiring sites to determine whether or not a wage premium was earned by workers who participate in day labor worker centers. We find a modest, but statistically significant, wage premium earned by workers who participate in day labor worker centers, as well as evidence suggestive of the capacity of worker centers to mitigate market advantages associated with informal hiring sites. We argue that while worker centers remain the most effective means through which day labor markets can be regulated and workers’ wages improved, increasing the regulatory capacity of these labor market intermediaries will require a significant “scaling up,” so that they can more fully influence the larger political, economic, and social contexts in which the day labor economy is embedded.

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  • Edwin J. Meléndez & M. Anne Visser & Nik Theodore & Abel Valenzuela Jr., 2014. "Worker Centers and Day Laborers’ Wages," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 95(3), pages 835-851, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:socsci:v:95:y:2014:i:3:p:835-851

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Enrico Marcelli, 2004. "Unauthorized Mexican Immigration, Day Labour and other Lower-wage Informal Employment in California," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(1), pages 1-13.
    2. Nik Theodore, 2003. "Political Economies of Day Labour: Regulation and Restructuring of Chicago's Contingent Labour Markets," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 40(9), pages 1811-1828, August.
    3. Nik Theodore & Abel Valenzuela & Edwin Meléndez, 2009. "Worker centers: defending labor standards for migrant workers in the informal economy," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 30(5), pages 422-436, August.
    4. Annette Bernhardt & Michael W. Spiller & Nik Theodore, 2013. "Employers Gone Rogue: Explaining Industry Variation in Violations of Workplace Laws," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 66(4), pages 808-832, July.
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