IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Minimum Wages and the Wage Structure in Mexico


  • David Fairris
  • Gurleen Popli
  • Eduardo Zepeda


Instead of merely setting a lower bound on the wages of formal sector workers, minimum wages serve as a norm for wage setting more generally throughout the Mexican economy. Our results suggest that wages are commonly set at multiples of the minimum wage, and that changes in minimum wages influence wage changes across the occupational distribution. Moreover, our findings suggest that these normative features of minimum wages have their greatest impact on the mid-to-lower tail of the wage distribution, including the informal sector of the economy. Thus, the results lend support to the view that declining real minimum wages and stabilization programs that strengthened the link between wage levels, wage changes, and minimum wages, might account for a portion of the growing wage inequality in Mexico over the period of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Suggested Citation

  • David Fairris & Gurleen Popli & Eduardo Zepeda, 2008. "Minimum Wages and the Wage Structure in Mexico," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 66(2), pages 181-208.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:66:y:2008:i:2:p:181-208 DOI: 10.1080/00346760701691489

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Wuyts, Stefan & Colombo, Massimo G. & Dutta, Shantanu & Nooteboom, Bart, 2005. "Empirical tests of optimal cognitive distance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 277-302, October.
    2. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
    3. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
    4. Nooteboom, B. & Berger, H. & Noorderhaven, N.G., 1997. "Effects of trust and governance on relational risk," Other publications TiSEM 8e83932e-064c-40e8-afe7-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    5. Krug, B., 2000. "Ties That Bind: the emergence of entrepreneurs in China," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2000-44-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Mariano Bosch & Marco Manacorda, 2010. "Minimum Wages and Earnings Inequality in Urban Mexico," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 128-149, October.
    2. repec:spr:jlabre:v:38:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s12122-017-9241-z is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Bosch, Mariano & Manacorda, Marco, 2008. "Minimum wages and earnings inequality in urban Mexico. Revisiting the evidence," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19561, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Raymundo M. Campos-Vazquez & Nora Lustig, 2017. "Labour income inequality in Mexico: Puzzles solved and unsolved," WIDER Working Paper Series 186, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    5. Raymundo M. Campos-Vázquez, 2013. "Why did wage inequality decrease in Mexico after NAFTA?," Economía Mexicana NUEVA ÉPOCA, , vol. 0(2), pages 245-278, July-Dece.
    6. Gurleen K. Popli, 2011. "Changes in Human Capital and Wage Inequality in Mexico," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(3), pages 369-387, February.
    7. repec:spr:ijlaec:v:60:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s41027-017-0077-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Margherita Comola & Luiz de Mello, 2009. "How Does Decentralised Minimum-Wage Setting Affect Unemployment and Informality?: The Case of Indonesia," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 710, OECD Publishing.
    9. Raymundo Campos & Gerardo Esquivel & Nora Lustig, 2012. "The Rise and Fall of Income Inequality in Mexico, 1989–2010," Working Papers 267, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    10. Crôtte, Amado & Noland, Robert B. & Graham, Daniel J., 2009. "Is the Mexico City metro an inferior good?," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 40-45, January.
    11. repec:unu:wpaper:wp2012-10 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Fairris, David & Jonasson, Erik, 2016. "Determinants of Changing Informal Employment in Brazil, 2000–2010," MPRA Paper 71475, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Eduardo Zepeda & Diana Alarcón & Fabio Veras Soares & Rafael Guerreiro Osorio, 2009. "Changes in Earnings in Brazil, Chile, and Mexico: Disentangling the Forces Behind Pro-Poor Change in Labour Markets," Working Papers 51, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
    14. Juárez González Laura & Casarín de la Cabada Daniel, 2016. "Downward Wage Rigidities in the Mexican Labor Market 1996-2011," Working Papers 2016-23, Banco de México.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:66:y:2008:i:2:p:181-208. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.