IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Evidence on the impact of minimum wage laws in an informal sector: Domestic workers in South Africa

  • Dinkelman, Taryn
  • Ranchhod, Vimal

What happens when a previously uncovered labour market is regulated? We exploit the introduction of a minimum wage in South Africa and variation in the intensity of this law to identify increases in wages for domestic workers and find no statistically significant effects on the intensive or extensive margins of work. These large, partial responses to the law are somewhat surprising, given the lack of monitoring and enforcement in this informal sector. We interpret these changes as evidence that strong external sanctions are not necessary for new labour legislation to have a significant impact on informal sectors of developing countries, at least in the short-run.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8682.

in new window

Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8682
Contact details of provider: Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820

Order Information: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Alexandre Mas, 2006. "Pay, Reference Points, and Police Performance," NBER Working Papers 12202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. John R. Lott Jr. & Russell D. Roberts, 1995. "The Expected Penalty for Committing a Crime: An Analysis of Minimum Wage Violations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(2), pages 397-408.
  3. 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 244-49, May.
  4. John DiNardo & Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 1995. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," NBER Working Papers 5093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. T.H. Gindling & Katherine Terrell, 2004. "Legal Minimum Wages and the Wages of Formal and Informal Sector Workers in Costa Rica," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2004-647, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  6. Cortes, Kalena E., 2004. "Wage Effects on Immigrants from an Increase in the Minimum Wage Rate: An Analysis by Immigrant Industry Concentration," IZA Discussion Papers 1064, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1988. "Fairness and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 44-49, May.
  8. Squire, Lyn & Suthiwart-Narueput, Sethaput, 1997. "The Impact of Labor Market Regulations," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(1), pages 119-43, January.
  9. Basu, Arnab K & Chau, Nancy H & Kanbur, Ravi, 2005. "Turning a Blind Eye: Costly Enforcement, Credible Commitment and Minimum Wage Laws," CEPR Discussion Papers 5107, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gachter & Georg Kirchsteiger, 1997. "Reciprocity as a Contract Enforcement Device: Experimental Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 833-860, July.
  11. Stephen G. Donald & Kevin Lang, 2007. "Inference with Difference-in-Differences and Other Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 221-233, May.
  12. Patricia Cort�s & Jessica Pan, 2013. "Outsourcing Household Production: Foreign Domestic Workers and Native Labor Supply in Hong Kong," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(2), pages 327 - 371.
  13. Ashenfelter, Orley & Smith, Robert S, 1979. "Compliance with the Minimum Wage Law," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(2), pages 333-50, April.
  14. David Weil, 2005. "Public enforcement/private monitoring: Evaluating a new approach to regulating the minimum wage," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(2), pages 238-257, January.
  15. Banerjee, Abhijit & Duflo, Esther, 2006. "The Economic Lives of the Poor," CEPR Discussion Papers 5968, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. repec:oup:qjecon:v:97:y:1982:i:4:p:543-69 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Neumark, David & Wascher, William, 2007. "Minimum Wages and Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 2570, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. James B. Rebitzer & Lowell J. Taylor, 1991. "The Consequences of Minimum Wage Laws: Some New Theoretical Ideas," NBER Working Papers 3877, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. T. H. Gindling & Katherine Terrell, 2004. "Legal Minimum Wages and the Wages of Formal and Informal Sector Workers in Costa Rica," UMBC Economics Department Working Papers 04-102, UMBC Department of Economics.
  20. James Konow, 2003. "Which Is the Fairest One of All? A Positive Analysis of Justice Theories," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1188-1239, December.
  21. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Christian Zehnder, . "The Behavioral Effects of Minimum Wages," IEW - Working Papers 247, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  22. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2004. "Do Labour Market Conditions Affect Gift Exchange? Some Experimental Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 684-708, 07.
  23. repec:oup:qjecon:v:119:y:2004:i:1:p:249-275 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. David E. Bloom & Gilles Grenier, 1986. "Models of Firm Behavior Under Minimum Wage Legislation," NBER Working Papers 1877, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. I. M. Rubinow, 1906. "The Problem of Domestic Service," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14, pages 502.
  26. Grenier, Gilles, 1982. "On Compliance with the Minimum Wage Law," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(1), pages 184-87, February.
  27. repec:oup:qjecon:v:114:y:1999:i:3:p:977-1023 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Tom Hertz, 2005. "The Effect of Minimum Wages on the Employment and Earnings of South Africa's Domestic Service Workers," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 05-120, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  29. Nicola Branson, 2009. "Re-weighting the OHS and LFS National household Survey Data to create a consistent series over time: A Cross Entropy Estimation Approach," SALDRU Working Papers 38, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  30. Yang-Ming Chang, 1992. "Noncompliance Behavior of Risk-Averse Firms Under the Minimum Wage Law," Public Finance Review, , vol. 20(3), pages 390-401, July.
  31. Chang, Yang-Ming & Ehrlich, Isaac, 1985. "On the Economics of Compliance with the Minimum Wage Law," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(1), pages 84-91, February.
  32. Akerlof, George A, 1984. "Gift Exchange and Efficiency-Wage Theory: Four Views," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 79-83, May.
  33. David Weil, 2005. "Public Enforcement/Private Monitoring: Evaluating a New Approach to Regulating the Minimum Wage," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(2), pages 238-257, January.
  34. Sara Lemos, 2006. "Minimum Wage Effects in a Developing Country," Discussion Papers in Economics 06/1, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  35. Bell, Linda A, 1997. "The Impact of Minimum Wages in Mexico and Colombia," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages S102-35, July.
  36. Brown, Charles, 1988. "Minimum Wage Laws: Are They Overrated?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 133-45, Summer.
  37. repec:oup:qjecon:v:119:y:2004:i:1:p:91-134 is not listed on IDEAS
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8682. 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: ()

The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask to update the entry or send us the correct address

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.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.