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Minimum Wages in Colombia: Holding the Middle With a Bite on the Poor

Author

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  • Carlos A.Arango

    ()

  • Angélica Pachón

    ()

Abstract

This paper exploits the long history of the minimum wage in a relatively stable developing economy like Colombia in order to see whether it may alleviate the living conditions of low income families and reduce income inequality. The paper does not only explore how the minimum wage may serve these purposes, but also how it may distort market outcomes to do so. We found significant negative minimum wage effects on both the likelihood of being employed and hours worked for all family members, being it stronger for women, and the young and less educated people. We also found a positive effect on non-head participation especialilly in families with low human capial. But, more important, we found evidence that the minimum wage ends up being regressive, improving the living conditions of families in the middle and the upper part of the income distribution with net losses for those at the bottom.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos A.Arango & Angélica Pachón, 2004. "Minimum Wages in Colombia: Holding the Middle With a Bite on the Poor," Borradores de Economia 280, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdr:borrec:280
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. William Maloney & Jairo Mendez, 2004. "Measuring the Impact of Minimum Wages. Evidence from Latin America," NBER Chapters,in: Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean, pages 109-130 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Freeman, Richard B, 1996. "The Minimum Wage as a Redistributive Tool," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(436), pages 639-649, May.
    3. 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.
    4. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 772-793, September.
    5. Marcelo Neri & Gustavo Gonzaga & José Márcio Camargo, 1998. "Efeitos informais do salário mínimo e pobreza," Textos para discussão 393, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
    6. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1995. "Time-Series Minimum-Wage Studies: A Meta-analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 238-243, May.
    7. Robertson, D & Symons, J, 1992. "Some Strange Properties of Panel Data Estimators," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(2), pages 175-189, April-Jun.
    8. Agenor, Pierre-Richard & Aizenman, Joshua, 1999. "Macroeconomic adjustment with segmented labor markets," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 277-296, April.
    9. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
    10. Azam, Jean-Paul, 1997. "Efficiency Wage and the Family: An Explanation for the Impact of the Agricultural Minimum Wage in Morocco," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 369-382.
    11. Richard V. Burkhauser & Kenneth A. Couch & David C. Wittenburg, 2000. "Who Minimum Wage Increases Bite: An Analysis Using Monthly Data from the SIPP and the CPS," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 67(1), pages 16-40, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sergey Kapelyuk, 2015. "The effect of minimum wage on poverty," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 23(2), pages 389-423, April.
    2. Cuong Viet Nguyen, 2013. "The impact of minimum wages on employment of low-wage workers," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 21(3), pages 583-615, July.
    3. Luis Eduardo Arango & Paula Herrera & Carlos Esteban Posada, 2008. "El salario mínimo: aspectos generales sobre los casos de Colombia y otros países," ENSAYOS SOBRE POLÍTICA ECONÓMICA, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA - ESPE, vol. 26(56), pages 204-263, June.
    4. Elizabeth Cotton & Tony Royle, 2014. "Transnational Organizing: A Case Study of Contract Workers in the Colombian Mining Industry," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 52(4), pages 705-724, December.
    5. Marc Hofstetter, 2006. "La política monetaria y la Corte Constitucional: el caso del salario mínimo," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 8(14), pages 105-124, January-J.
    6. Kapelyuk Sergey, 2014. "Impact of minimum wage on income distribution and poverty in Russia," EERC Working Paper Series 14/03e, EERC Research Network, Russia and CIS.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Minimum wage; income distribution; income inequality; public policy.;

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets
    • J48 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Particular Labor Markets; Public Policy

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