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The Consequences of Increased Enforcement of Legal Minimum Wages in a Developing Country: An Evaluation of the Impact of the Campaña Nacional de Salarios Mínimos in Costa Rica

Author

Listed:
  • Gindling, T. H.

    () (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)

  • Mossaad, Nadwa

    () (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)

  • Trejos, Juan Diego

    () (University of Costa Rica)

Abstract

In August 2010 the Costa Rican government implemented a comprehensive program to increase compliance with legal minimum wages, the Campaign for Minimum Wages. To evaluate the impact of the Campaign, we use a regression discontinuity approach, which compares what happened to workers who before the campaign had been earning below the minimum wage to those who before the Campaign had been earning above the minimum wage. We analyze a panel data set with information on workers from before the Campaign began (July 2010) and after the Campaign had been in operation for some time (July 2011). We find evidence that the Campaign led to an increase in compliance with minimum wage laws in Costa Rica; the mean earnings of those earning less than the minimum wage in 2010 increased by approximately 10% more than the earnings of those who had been earning more than the minimum wage. The Campaign led to the largest increases in the wages of women, younger workers and less-educated workers. We find no evidence that the Campaign had a negative impact on the employment of full-time workers whose wages were increased. We find some weak evidence that the Campaign had a negative impact on the employment of part-time private sector employees. Although increased inspections were mainly targeting minimum wage violations, we also observe an increase in compliance with a broader set of labor standards and a positive spillover effect relative to other violations of labor laws.

Suggested Citation

  • Gindling, T. H. & Mossaad, Nadwa & Trejos, Juan Diego, 2014. "The Consequences of Increased Enforcement of Legal Minimum Wages in a Developing Country: An Evaluation of the Impact of the Campaña Nacional de Salarios Mínimos in Costa Rica," IZA Discussion Papers 8253, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8253
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Karolina Goraus & Piotr Lewandowski, 2016. "Minimum Wage Violation In Central And Eastern Europe," IBS Working Papers 03/2016, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych.
    3. 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.
    4. Andrea Garnero, 2018. "The dog that barks doesn’t bite: coverage and compliance of sectoral minimum wages in Italy," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 7(1), pages 1-24, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    employment; minimum wages; labor code enforcement; Latin America; wages;

    JEL classification:

    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy

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