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The effects of the minimum wage in Brazil on the distribution of family incomes: 1996-2001

  • Neumark, David
  • Cunningham, Wendy
  • Siga, Lucas

The Brazilian economy has long relied on the minimum wage, having first implemented a minimum in 1940. Shortly after taking office in 2003, Brazil’s President raised the minimum wage by 20 percent and promised to double the value of the minimum wage before his term ends in 2006. The usual rationale for minimum wage increases is to bring about beneficial changes in the income distribution, by raising incomes of poor and low-income families. The goal of this paper is to evaluate the efficacy of the minimum wage in Brazil in bringing about these changes in the income distribution. We examine data drawn from Brazil’s major metropolitan areas, studying the years after Brazil’s hyper-inflation ended. The estimates provide no evidence that minimum wages in Brazil lift family incomes at the lower points of the income distribution; if anything some of the evidence points to adverse effects on lower-income families.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 80 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (June)
Pages: 136-159

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:80:y:2006:i:1:p:136-159
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  1. Charles Brown & Curtis Gilroy & Andrew Kohen, 1982. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on Employment and Unemployment: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 0846, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gonzaga, Gustavo & Camargo, José Márcio & Neri, Marcelo Cortes, 2000. "Efeitos Informais Do Salário Mínimo E Pobreza," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 372, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  3. Francisco de Hollanda Guimarães Ferreira & Peter Lanjouw & Marcelo Neri, 2000. "A new poverty profile for Brazil using PPV, PNAD and census data," Textos para discussão 418, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
  4. James J. Heckman & Carmen Pagés, 2004. "Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number heck04-1, May.
  5. David Neumark & DMark Schweitzer & DaWilliam Wascher, 2004. "Minimum Wage Effects throughout the Wage Distribution," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  6. Sara Lemos, 2004. "A Menu Of Minimum Wage Variables For Evaluating Wages and Employment Effects: Evidence From Brazil," Labor and Demography 0403009, EconWPA.
  7. David Neumark & Mark Schweitzer & William Wascher, 1998. "The Effects of Minimum Wages on the Distribution of Family Incomes: A Non-Parametric Analysis," NBER Working Papers 6536, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Ricardo Paes de Barros & Carlos Henrique Corseuil & Miguel N. Foguel & Philippe G. Leite, 2001. "Uma avaliação dos impactos do salário mínimo sobre o nível de pobreza metropolitana no Brasil," Economia, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics], vol. 2(1), pages 47-71, January-J.
  9. Neri, Marcelo Cortes, 2002. "Decent Work and the Informal Sector in Brazil," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 461, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  10. Maloney, William F. & Nunez, Jairo & Cunningham, Wendy & Fiess, Norbert & Montenegro, Claudio & Murrugarra, Edmundo & Santamaria,Mauricio & Sepulveda, Claudia, 2001. "Measuring the impact of minimum wages : evidence from Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2597, The World Bank.
  11. Brown, Charles & Gilroy, Curtis & Kohen, Andrew, 1982. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on Employment and Unemployment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 487-528, June.
  12. David Neumark & William L. Wascher, 2008. "Minimum Wages," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262141027, June.
  13. Brown, Charles, 1999. "Minimum wages, employment, and the distribution of income," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 32, pages 2101-2163 Elsevier.
  14. Richard V. Burkhauser & Kenneth A. Couch & David C. Wittenburg, 1996. "Who gets what from minimum wage hikes: A re-estimation of Card and Krueger's distributional analysis in "Myth and Measurement: The New Economics of the Minimum Wage."," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 49(3), pages 547-552, April.
  15. Gabriel Ulyssea & Miguel N. Foguel, 2006. "Efeitos do Salário Mínimo Sobre o Mercado de Trabalho Brasileiro," Discussion Papers 1168, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA.
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