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Latin American Labor Markets in the 1990s: Deciphering the Decade

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  • Suzanne Duryea
  • Olga Lucia Jaramillo
  • Carmen Pagés-Serra

    ()

Abstract

This paper analyzes the recent performance of Latin American labor markets. We find that unemployment rates are on the rise in most countries and sub-regions of Latin America. The rise in unemployment over the 1990s is not driven by a higher proportion of women, adults or urban workers in the labor force, nor can it be attributed to an increasing demand for skilled workers. In a few countries, increasing unemployment is caused by falling employment rates. In the rest, unemployment rates can be explained by a large rise in participation that has not been fully absorbed by increases in employment. We also find that a large and in many countries growing proportion of workers are employed at jobs that pay very low wages. Finally, returns to higher education are increasing while returns to secondary education are declining in almost all countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Suzanne Duryea & Olga Lucia Jaramillo & Carmen Pagés-Serra, 2003. "Latin American Labor Markets in the 1990s: Deciphering the Decade," Research Department Publications 4331, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4331
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Suzanne Duryea & Carmen Pagés, 2002. "Human Capital Policies: What they Can and Cannot Do for Productivity and Poverty Reduction in Latin America," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 1103, Inter-American Development Bank.
    2. Levenson, Alec R. & Maloney, William F., 1998. "The informal sector, firm dynamics, and institutional participation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1988, The World Bank.
    3. Suzanne Duryea & Alejandra Cox Edwards & Manuelita Ureta, 2001. "Women in the LAC Labor Market: The Remarkable 1990???s," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 500, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    4. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alejandro Badel & Ximena Peña, 2010. "Decomposing the Gender Wage Gap with Sample Selection Adjustment: Evidence from Colombia," Revista de Analisis Economico – Economic Analysis Review, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines, vol. 25(2), pages 169-191, Diciembre.
    2. Steven Ruggles & Misty Heggeness, 2008. "Intergenerational Coresidence in Developing Countries," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 34(2), pages 253-281.
    3. Ferroni, Marco & Mateo, Mercedes & Payne, Mark, 2008. "Development under conditions of inequality and distrust: Social cohesion in Latin America," IFPRI discussion papers 777, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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