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The Minimum Wage In Colombia1984-2001: Favoring The Middle Class With A Bite On The Poor







This paper exploits the long history of the minimum wage in Colombia in order to see whether it has im-proved the living conditions of low income families and reduced income inequality. This paper also ex-plores how the minimum wage may have distorted market outcomes in the process. We fi nd signifi cant negative minimum wage effects on both the likeli-hood of being employed and hours worked among household heads. The negative effect is strongest for women, the young and less educated people. For non-head household members, we fi nd that a rise in the minimum wage signifi cantly increases labor participation, reduces hours worked, and increases the likelihood of being unemployed. Most impor-tantly, we fi nd evidence that the minimum wage ends up being regressive, improving the living con-ditions of families in the middle and the upper parts of the income distribution but causing net losses for those at the bottom.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos A. Arango & Angélica Pachón, 2007. "The Minimum Wage In Colombia1984-2001: Favoring The Middle Class With A Bite On The Poor," ENSAYOS SOBRE POLÍTICA ECONÓMICA, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA - ESPE, vol. 25(55), pages 148-193, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000107:004649

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 772-793, September.
    2. Agenor, Pierre-Richard & Aizenman, Joshua, 1999. "Macroeconomic adjustment with segmented labor markets," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 277-296, April.
    3. Bell, Linda A, 1997. "The Impact of Minimum Wages in Mexico and Colombia," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages 102-135, July.
    4. Neumark, David & Cunningham, Wendy & Siga, Lucas, 2006. "The effects of the minimum wage in Brazil on the distribution of family incomes: 1996-2001," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 136-159, June.
    5. Robertson, D & Symons, J, 1992. "Some Strange Properties of Panel Data Estimators," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(2), pages 175-189, April-Jun.
    6. Arango Luis Eduardo & Andrés Felipe Garcia & Carlos Esteban Posada, 2008. "La metodología de la Encuesta Continua de Hogares y el empalme de las series del mercado laboral urbano de Colombia," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE, May.
    7. Azam, Jean-Paul, 1997. "Efficiency Wage and the Family: An Explanation for the Impact of the Agricultural Minimum Wage in Morocco," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 369-382.
    8. Richard V. Burkhauser & Kenneth A. Couch & David C. Wittenburg, 2000. "Who Minimum Wage Increases Bite: An Analysis Using Monthly Data from the SIPP and the CPS," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 67(1), pages 16-40, July.
    9. Lustig, N. & Mcleod, D., 1996. "Minimum Wages and Poverty in Developing Countries : Some Empirical Evidence," Papers 125, Brookings Institution - Working Papers.
    10. Freeman, Richard B, 1996. "The Minimum Wage as a Redistributive Tool," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(436), pages 639-649, May.
    11. Kaddour Hadri & Rolf Larsson, 2005. "Testing for stationarity in heterogeneous panel data where the time dimension is finite," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 8(1), pages 55-69, March.
    12. Anderson, T. W. & Hsiao, Cheng, 1982. "Formulation and estimation of dynamic models using panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 47-82, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Juan José Echavarría & Enrique López & Sergio Ocampo & Norberto Rodríguez, 2011. "Choques, instituciones laborales y desempleo en Colombia," ENSAYOS SOBRE POLÍTICA ECONÓMICA, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA - ESPE, vol. 29(66), pages 128-173, December.
    2. repec:eee:wdevel:v:102:y:2018:i:c:p:135-157 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    minimum wage; income distribution; income inequality; poverty alleviation.;

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets
    • J48 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Particular Labor Markets; Public Policy


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