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The Impact of Minimum Wages on Wages, Work and Poverty in Nicaragua

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  • Alaniz, Enrique

    () (Fundación Internacional para el Desafío Económico Global (FIDEG))

  • Gindling, T. H.

    () (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)

  • Terrell, Katherine

    (University of Michigan)

Abstract

We use an individual-level panel data set to study the impact of changes in legal minimum wages on a host of labor market outcomes in Nicaragua including: a) wages and employment, b) transitions of workers across jobs (in the covered and uncovered sectors) and employment status (unemployment and out of the labor force), and c) transitions into and out of poverty. We find that changes in the legal minimum wage affect only those workers whose initial wage (before the change in minimum wages) is close to the minimum. For example, increases in the legal minimum wage lead to significant increases in the wages and decreases in employment of private covered sector workers who have wages within 20% of the minimum wage before the change, but have no significant impact on wages in other parts of the distribution. The estimates from the employment transition equations suggest that the decrease in covered private sector employment is due to a combination of layoffs and reductions in hiring. Most workers who lose their jobs in the covered private sector as a result of higher legal minimum wages leave the labor force or go into unpaid family work; a smaller proportion find work in the public sector. Our analysis of the relationship between the minimum wage and household income finds: a) increases in legal minimum wages increase the probability that a poor worker's family will move out of poverty, and b) increases in legal minimum wages are more likely to reduce the incidence of poverty if they impact the head of the household rather than the non-head.

Suggested Citation

  • Alaniz, Enrique & Gindling, T. H. & Terrell, Katherine, 2011. "The Impact of Minimum Wages on Wages, Work and Poverty in Nicaragua," IZA Discussion Papers 5702, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5702
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    3. T. H. Gindling, 2014. "Does increasing the minimum wage reduce poverty in developing countries?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 1-30, May.
    4. Patrick Belser & Uma Rani, 2015. "Minimum wages and inequality," Chapters,in: Labour Markets, Institutions and Inequality, chapter 5, pages 123-146 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    6. World Bank, 2013. "Minimum Wage Policy : Lessons with a Focus on the ASEAN Region," World Bank Other Operational Studies 16687, The World Bank.
    7. Maike Hohberg & Jann Lay, 2015. "The impact of minimum wages on informal and formal labor market outcomes: evidence from Indonesia," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-25, December.
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    10. Alvarado, Rafael, 2012. "Wages differentials in Ecuador: A regional approach with sample selection of Heckman and Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition," MPRA Paper 37470, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    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. Shanthi Nataraj & Francisco Perez-Arce & Krishna B. Kumar & Sinduja V. Srinivasan, 2014. "The Impact Of Labor Market Regulation On Employment In Low-Income Countries: A Meta-Analysis," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(3), pages 551-572, July.
    13. Guney, Ibrahim Ethem & Hacihasanoglu, Yavuz Selim & Tumen, Semih, 2017. "Consumer Loan Response to Permanent Labor Income Shocks: Evidence from a Major Minimum Wage Increase," IZA Discussion Papers 10751, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Haroon Bhorat & Ravi Kanbur & Benjamin Stanwix, 2014. "Estimating the Impact of Minimum Wages on Employment, Wages, and Non-Wage Benefits: The Case of Agriculture in South Africa," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1402-1419.
    15. Fernando Alberto Groisman & Albano Blas Vergara & Analía Calero & Julia Liniado & María Eugenia Sconfienza & Maria Soledad Cubas & Santiago Boffi, 2015. "Social Protection to the Informal Sector: The Role of Minimum Wage and Income Transfer Policies," Working Papers PMMA 2015-10, PEP-PMMA.
    16. Andi Sukmana & Ichihashi Masaru, 2014. "The Impact of Minimum Wages on Investment and Employment in Indonesia," IDEC DP2 Series 4-6, Hiroshima University, Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation (IDEC).
    17. 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.
    18. Long, Cheryl & Yang, Jin, 2016. "How do firms respond to minimum wage regulation in China? Evidence from Chinese private firms," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 267-284.
    19. Del Carpio, Ximena & Nguyen, Cuong & Nguyen, Ha & Wang, Choon, 2013. "The Impact of Minimum Wages on Employment, Wages and Welfare: The Case of Vietnam," MPRA Paper 83677, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. 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.
    21. Yamada, Ken, 2016. "Tracing the impact of large minimum wage changes on household welfare in Indonesia," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 287-303.
    22. Saari, M. Yusof & Rahman, M. Affan Abdul & Hassan, Azman & Habibullah, Muzafar Shah, 2016. "Estimating the impact of minimum wages on poverty across ethnic groups in Malaysia," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 490-502.
    23. 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

    poverty; minimum wages; employment;

    JEL classification:

    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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