Minimum wages, wages and employment in various sectors in Honduras
This paper contributes to our understanding of the impact of minimum wages on labor markets of developing countries, where there are often multiple minimum wages and compliance is weak. We examine how changes in more than 22 minimum wages over 1990-2004 affect employment, unemployment and average wages of workers in different sectors, defined by coverage under the legislation. The evidence suggests that minimum wages are effectively enforced only in medium and large-scale firms, where a 1% increase in the minimum wage leads to an increase of 0.29% in the average wage and a relatively large reduction in employment of -Â 0.46%. We find that public sector wages emulate minimum wage trends but the higher cost of labor does not reduce employment there. There are no discernable effects of minimum wages on the wages of workers in small-firms or the self-employed; yet, higher minimum wages may create more unemployment. We conclude that (even under our upper bound estimate of the effect on the wages of workers) the total earnings of workers in the large-firm covered sector fall with higher minimum wages in Honduras, which warrants a policy dialogue on the structure and level of minimum wages.
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