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On the Determinants of Changes in Wage Inequality in Bolivia

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  • Gustavo Canavire-Bacarreza
  • Fernando Rios-Avila

Abstract

In recent years, Bolivia has experienced a series of economic and political transformations that have directly affected the labor markets, particularly the salaried urban sector. Real wages have shown strong increases across the distribution, while also presenting a decrease in inequality. Using an intertemporal decomposition approach, we find evidence that changes in demographic and labor market characteristics can explain only a small portion of the observed inequality decline. Instead, the results indicate that the decline in wage inequality was driven by the faster wage growth of usually low-paid jobs, and wage stagnation of jobs that require higher education or are in traditionally highly paid fields. While the evidence shows that the reduction in inequality is significant, we suggest that such an improvement might not be sustainable in the long run, since structural factors associated with productivity, such as workers’ level of education, explain only a small portion of these wage changes.

Suggested Citation

  • Gustavo Canavire-Bacarreza & Fernando Rios-Avila, 2015. "On the Determinants of Changes in Wage Inequality in Bolivia," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_835, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_835
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Beatriz Muriel & Luis Carlos Jemio, 2010. "Mercado laboral y reformas en Bolivia," Capítulos de Libros PUCP / Chapters of PUCP books,in: José Rodríguez & Albert Berry (ed.), Desafíos laborales en América Latina después de dos décadas de reformas estructurales. Bolivia, Paraguay y Perú 1997-2008, edition 1, chapter 5, pages 273-356 Fondo Editorial - Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.
    2. Lustig, Nora & Lopez-Calva, Luis F. & Ortiz-Juarez, Eduardo, 2013. "Declining Inequality in Latin America in the 2000s: The Cases of Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 129-141.
    3. Mariano Bosch & Marco Manacorda, 2010. "Minimum Wages and Earnings Inequality in Urban Mexico," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 128-149, October.
    4. Fernando Rios-Avila & Barry T. Hirsch, 2014. "Unions, Wage Gaps, and Wage Dispersion: New Evidence from the Americas," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 1-27, January.
    5. Azevedo, Joao Pedro & Inchauste, Gabriela & Sanfelice, Viviane, 2013. "Decomposing the recent inequality decline in Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6715, The World Bank.
    6. Yu-Fu Chen & Dennis Snower & Gylfi Zoega, 2003. "Labour-market Institutions and Macroeconomic Shocks," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 17(2), pages 247-270, June.
    7. Fortun Vargas, Jonathan M., 2012. "Declining inequality in Bolivia: How and Why," MPRA Paper 41208, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Fernando Borraz & Nicolás Gonzalez Pampillón, 2011. "Assessing the Distributive Impact of More than Doubling the Minimum Wage: The Case of Uruguay," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 1711, Department of Economics - dECON.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cruces Guillermo & Fields Gary S. & Jaume David & Viollaz Mariana, 2015. "The growth-employment-poverty nexus in Latin America in the 2000s: Bolivia country study," WIDER Working Paper Series 070, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. Aristizábal-Ramírez, María & Canavire Bacarreza, Gustavo J & Jetter, Michael, 2015. "Income Inequality in Bolivia, Colombia, and Ecuador: Different Reasons," IZA Discussion Papers 9210, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bolivia; Decomposition; Wage Inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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