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Public–private wage gap in Latin America (1992–2007): A matching approach

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  • Mizala, Alejandra
  • Romaguera, Pilar
  • Gallegos, Sebastián

Abstract

Using matching methods, we estimate the public–private wage gap for urban workers in eleven Latin American countries for the 1992–2007 period. These methods do not require any estimation of earnings equations and hence no validity-out-of-the-support assumptions; furthermore, this approach allows us to estimate not only the average wage gap but also its distribution. Our main findings indicate that the average public sector worker earns more than his/her private counterpart, and that this differential increased over the 1992–2007 period. Important differences along the wage distribution are also shown in the results; in fact, public servants in the highest percentiles of the wage distribution generally earn less than their private sector equivalents. Nonetheless, the percentile at which a positive wage gap becomes a wage penalty shifted over the period as the average wage gap experienced by most countries widened. Still, the most qualified public sector workers do face a wage penalty. Furthermore, indicators of government effectiveness show no relationship with the country ranking according to the public–private wage gap.

Suggested Citation

  • Mizala, Alejandra & Romaguera, Pilar & Gallegos, Sebastián, 2011. "Public–private wage gap in Latin America (1992–2007): A matching approach," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(S1), pages 115-131.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:18:y:2011:i:s1:p:s115-s131
    DOI: 10.1016/j.labeco.2011.08.004
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public–private wage gap; Matching; Public sector; Latin America; Government effectiveness;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution

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