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Measuring the Impact of Minimum Wages. Evidence from Latin America

In: Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean

  • William Maloney
  • Jairo Mendez

This paper first provides an overview of the levels of minimum wages in Latin America and their true impact on the distribution of wages using both numerical measures and kernel density plots. It identifies numeraire' effects higher in the wage distribution and lighthouse' or reference effects in the unregulated or informal' sector. The final section then employs panel employment data from Colombia, a country where minimum wages seem high and very binding, to quantify the effects of an increase on wages and employment. The evidence suggests that in the Latin American context, the minimum wage has impacts beyond those usually contemplated in the advanced country literature.

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This chapter was published in:
  • 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, December.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 10068.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:10068
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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    1. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1993. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," NBER Working Papers 4509, 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. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1999. "Minimum Wages and Employment in France and the United States," NBER Working Papers 6996, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Horst Siebert, 1997. "Labor Market Rigidities: At the Root of Unemployment in Europe," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 37-54, Summer.
    5. Alida Castillo Freeman & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Minimum Wages in Puerto Rico: Textbook Case of a Wage Floor?," NBER Working Papers 3759, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Jean Baldwin Grossman, 1983. "The Impact of the Minimum Wage on Other Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(3), pages 359-378.
    7. Janet Currie & Bruce Fallick, 1993. "The Minimum Wage and the Employment of Youth: Evidence from the NLSY," NBER Working Papers 4348, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Joshua Aizenman & Pierre-Richard Agénor, 1994. "Macroeconomic Adjustment with Segmented Labor Markets," IMF Working Papers 94/56, International Monetary Fund.
    9. Fajnzylber, Pablo & Maloney, William F., 2001. "How comparable are labor demand elasticities across countries?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2658, The World Bank.
    10. Norbert Fiess & Marco fugazza & William Maloney, 2002. "Exchange Rate Appreciations, Labor Market Rigidities, and Informality," Working Papers 2005_15, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
    11. Maloney, William F., 2004. "Informality Revisited," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1159-1178, July.
    12. Cunningham, Wendy V & Maloney, William F, 2001. "Heterogeneity among Mexico's Microenterprises: An Application of Factor and Cluster Analysis," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(1), pages 131-56, October.
    13. Edward M. Gramlich, 1976. "Impact of Minimum Wages on Other Wages, Employment, and Family Incomes," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 7(2), pages 409-462.
    14. David Neumark & William L. Wascher, 2008. "Minimum Wages," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262141027, June.
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