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Minimum wage effects throughout the wage distribution: evidence from Brazil’s formal and informal sectors

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  • Pablo Fajnzylber

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Abstract

This paper investigates the effects of minimum wages on the income and employment of individuals, using longitudinal data from Brazil’s Monthly Employment Survey over the 1982-1997 period. We use information on 541,194 individuals, for which we consider data from two interviews performed 12 months apart. Our sample is restricted to workers aged 15 to 65 in the first interview, that were (initially) employed as formal salaried (62%), informal salaried (20%) or self-employed (18%). We provide detailed estimates of minimum wage effects at different points of the complete wage distribution, and calculate both contemporaneous and lagged effects, for formal and informal workers. We also estimate, indirectly, the effect of minimum wages on the probability of transitioning into different sectors of the labor market: salaried formal and informal work, self-employment, unemployment and inactivity. In order to provide some insight into the potential effects of minimum wages on family welfare and poverty, we obtain separate estimates for men and women, for workers under and above age 21, and for household heads and non-heads. We find significant minimum wage effects across the whole wage distribution, and both in the formal and the informal sectors. We also find that the total impact of minimum wages on workers earnings (derived from current and lagged effects) is positive but smaller than the contemporaneous one. As for employment elasticities, our estimates suggest that they are negative for most low-wage workers, being lower in absolute value for formal salaried workers (around -0.1 at the bottom of the wage distribution) than for low-wage informal salaried and self employed (between -0.25 and -0.35). Other results include higher earnings elasticities for men, adults and heads of households than for women, teenagers and non-heads, respectively.

Suggested Citation

  • Pablo Fajnzylber, 2001. "Minimum wage effects throughout the wage distribution: evidence from Brazil’s formal and informal sectors," Textos para Discussão Cedeplar-UFMG td151, Cedeplar, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdp:texdis:td151
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    File URL: http://www.cedeplar.ufmg.br/pesquisas/td/TD%20151.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Abowd, J.M. & Kramarz, F. & Margolis, D.N., 1998. "Minimum Wages and Employment in France and the United States," Papiers du Laboratoire de Microéconomie Appliquée 1998-12, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
    3. 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).
    4. David Neumark & Mark E. Schweitzer & William L. Wascher, 1999. "The effects of minimum wages throughout the wage distribution," Working Paper 9919, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, revised Feb 2000.
    5. Brown, Charles & Gilroy, Curtis & Kohen, Andrew, 1982. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on Employment and Unemployment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 487-528, June.
    6. Freeman, Richard B, 1996. "The Minimum Wage as a Redistributive Tool," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(436), pages 639-649, May.
    7. Neumark, David & Wascher, William, 1995. "Minimum-Wage Effects on School and Work Transitions of Teenagers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 244-249, May.
    8. Gabriel Ulyssea & Miguel N. Foguel, 2006. "Efeitos do Salário Mínimo Sobre o Mercado de Trabalho Brasileiro," Discussion Papers 1168, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA.
    9. Maloney, William F, 1999. "Does Informality Imply Segmentation in Urban Labor Markets? Evidence from Sectoral Transitions in Mexico," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(2), pages 275-302, May.
    10. Machin, Stephen & Manning, Alan, 1996. "Employment and the Introduction of a Minimum Wage in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(436), pages 667-676, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. David Neumark & William Wascher, 2006. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Review of Evidence from the New Minimum Wage Research," NBER Working Papers 12663, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Diego Angel-Urdinola, 2008. "Can a minimum wage increase have an adverse impact on inequality? Evidence from two Latin American economies," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 6(1), pages 57-71, March.
    3. Haroon Bhorat & Ravi Kanbur & Benjamin Stanwix, 2017. "Minimum Wages in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Primer," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 32(1), pages 21-74.
    4. Groisman, Fernando & Boffi, Santiago & Calero, Analía & Cuba, María Soledad & Liniado, Julia & Sconfienza, María Eugenia & Vergara Parra, Albano, 2015. "Social protection to the informal sector: the role of minimum wage and income transfer policies," MPRA Paper 72822, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Selin Pelek, 2015. "The Employment Effect of the Minimum Wage: An Empirical Analysis From Turkey," Ekonomi-tek - International Economics Journal, Turkish Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 49-68, January.
    6. Gindling, T.H. & Terrell, Katherine, 2010. "Minimum Wages, Globalization, and Poverty in Honduras," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 908-918, June.
    7. Susan Hayter & Bradley Weinberg, 2011. "Mind the Gap: Collective Bargaining and Wage Inequality," Chapters,in: The Role of Collective Bargaining in the Global Economy, chapter 6 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. repec:eee:wdevel:v:102:y:2018:i:c:p:135-157 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Dürdane Şirin Saracoğlu, 2017. "Labour Market Policies and the Informal Sector: A Segmented Labour Markets Analysis," ERC Working Papers 1705, ERC - Economic Research Center, Middle East Technical University, revised May 2017.
    10. Gabriel Ulyssea & Miguel N. Foguel, 2006. "Efeitos do Salário Mínimo Sobre o Mercado de Trabalho Brasileiro," Discussion Papers 1168, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA.
    11. Malena Arcidiácono, 2015. "Salario Mínimo y Distribución salarial: Evidencia para Argentina 2003 – 2013," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0192, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    12. Omar Rilver Velasco Portillo & Manuela Puente Beccar, 2016. "The Impact Of Wage Policy On The Distribution Of Labor Income And Poverty In Bolivia," Volúmenes de los Cuadernos de Investigacion Economica Boliviana publicados por el Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas Públicas 2016-4, Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas Publicas de Bolivia.
    13. Gindling, T.H. & Terrell, Katherine, 2005. "The effect of minimum wages on actual wages in formal and informal sectors in Costa Rica," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(11), pages 1905-1921, November.
    14. Haroon Bhorat & Tara Caetano & Benjamin Jourdan & Ravi Kanbur & Christopher Rooney & Benjamin Stanwix & Ingrid Woolard, 2016. "Investigating the Feasibility of a National Minimum Wage for South Africa," Working Papers 201601, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    15. repec:taf:oxdevs:v:45:y:2017:i:3:p:366-391 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. World Bank Group, 2015. "Poverty and Shared Prosperity in Brazil's Metropolitan Regions," World Bank Other Operational Studies 22316, The World Bank.
    17. Alexandros Karakitsios & Manos Matsaganis, 2018. "Minimum Wage Effects on Poverty and Inequality," DEOS Working Papers 1801, Athens University of Economics and Business.
    18. Katherine Terrell & Rita K. Almeida, 2008. "Minimum Wages in Developing Countries : Helping or Hurting Workers?," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11742, The World Bank.
    19. World Bank, 2013. "Minimum Wage Policy : Lessons with a Focus on the ASEAN Region," World Bank Other Operational Studies 16687, The World Bank.
    20. Menezes Filho, Naercio Aquino & Rodrigues, Eduardo Augusto, 2009. "Salário Mínimo e Desigualdade no Brasil, 1981-1999: Uma Abordagem Semiparamétrica," Revista Brasileira de Economia - RBE, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil), vol. 63(3), August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    minimum wage; Brazil;

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy

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