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Race determinants of wage gaps in Colombia

  • Carolina M. Rojas-Hayes


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    This paper examines the presence of wage gaps by race in Colombia. Information contained in the country´s 2003 Living Standard Survey indicates that Afro-Colombian minorities -specifically, working age males- earn on average 6.4% less hourly wages than their non-Afro counterparts. In order to explain these differences standard Mincerian equations are estimated. No statistical evidence of race discrimination in wages is obtained when controls for education levels, age, experience, geographical location, informality and family size are included in the model. The most important statistically significant determinant of wages obtained was education levels. The results however do not rule out the existence of discriminatory practices in earlier stages in life that determine the quantity and quality of education as well as participation in the labor market. This result is corroborated by estimation of poverty and race. In this context, public policies that reduced differences in human capital endowments amongst Colombians of different ethnicities will contribute to decrease racial wage gaps.Este artículo examina la presencia de diferencias salariales en Colombia considerando la raza de las personas. La información contenida en el informe de estándar de vida de 2003 de este país indica que las minorías Afro-Colombianas, -específicamente del genero masculino en edad laboral- ganan un 6.4 % menos por hora laboral que sus contrapartes no Afro. Para explicar estas diferencias se utilizan ecuaciones Mincerian estándar. Evidencia no estadística de la discriminación racial se obtiene con la inclusión en el modelo de los controles para la educación, edad, experiencia, ubicación geográfica, informalidad y tamaño del grupo familiar. El nivel de educación fue el determinante estadístico más importante que se obtuvo. Los resultados, sin embargo, no muestran la existencia de prácticas de discriminación en etapas tempranas de la vida que determinen la cantidad y calidad de la educación así como la participación en el mercado laboral. Este resultado es corroborado por la estimación de la pobreza y la raza. En este contexto, las políticas públicas que reduzcan las diferencias en dotación de capital humano entre los colombianos de diferentes etnias contribuirán a la disminución de las diferencias salariales debido a la raza.

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    Article provided by UNIVERSIDAD DEL NORTE in its journal REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA DEL CARIBE.

    Volume (Year): (2008)
    Issue (Month): (November)

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    Handle: RePEc:col:000382:007107
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    1. Dario Andres Portilla Galindo, 2003. "Mercado Laboral Y Discriminación Racial: Una Aproximación Para Cali," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 003204, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    2. Raquel Bernal & Mauricio Cárdenas Santa María, 2005. "Race and ethnic inequality in health and health care in Colombia," WORKING PAPERS SERIES. DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 003413, FEDESARROLLO.
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