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Trade Reform and Wage Inequality in Kenya, 1964-2000


  • Bigsten, Arne

    () (Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)

  • Durevall, Dick

    () (Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)


This paper analyses the evolution of wage inequality in Kenya between 1964 and 2000. Our measure of wage inequality is the ratio of wages in manufacturing to wages in agriculture, which can be seen as an indicator of sectoral wage-inequality or as a proxy for skilled to unskilled wages. We find that changes in relative wages have primarily been driven by the degree of openness, while other factors such as the capital-labour ratio, educational attainment, relative labour-productivity, and the ratio between agricultural and manufacturing prices had no significant effect. We conclude that international market integration has reduced wage-inequality in Kenya.

Suggested Citation

  • Bigsten, Arne & Durevall, Dick, 2004. "Trade Reform and Wage Inequality in Kenya, 1964-2000," Working Papers in Economics 148, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0148

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jorge Saba Arbache & Andy Dickerson & Francis Green, 2004. "Trade Liberalisation and Wages in Developing Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(493), pages 73-96, February.
    2. Wood, Adrian, 1997. "Openness and Wage Inequality in Developing Countries: The Latin American Challenge to East Asian Conventional Wisdom," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(1), pages 33-57, January.
    3. Williamson, Jeffrey G, 1997. "Globalization and Inequality, Past and Present," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 12(2), pages 117-135, August.
    4. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2001. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 541-563, July.
    5. De Maio, Lorenzo & Stewart, Frances & van der Hoeven, Rolph, 1999. "Computable General Equilibrium Models, Adjustment and the Poor in Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 453-470, March.
    6. Arne Bigsten & Peter Kimuyu & Karl Lundvall, 2004. "What to Do with the Informal Sector?," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 22(6), pages 701-715, November.
    7. Harrison, Ann E., 1994. "Productivity, imperfect competition and trade reform : Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-2), pages 53-73, February.
    8. Johansen, Soren, 1995. "Likelihood-Based Inference in Cointegrated Vector Autoregressive Models," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198774501.
    9. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Process of Global Integration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 1-118.
    10. Damiano Kulundu Manda & Kunal Sen, 2004. "The labour market effects of globalization in Kenya," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(1), pages 29-43.
    11. Athukorala, Prema-chandra & Rajapatirana, Sarath, 2000. "Liberalization and Industrial Transformation: Lessons from the Sri Lankan Experience," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(3), pages 543-572, April.
    12. Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Nina Pavcnik, 2004. "Trade, Inequality, and Poverty: What Do We Know? Evidence from Recent Trade Liberalization Episodes in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 10593, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Johansen, Soren, 1988. "Statistical analysis of cointegration vectors," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 231-254.
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    More about this item


    Trade policy; globalisation; wage inequality; Kenya.;

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa

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