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Measuring the Impact of Minimum Wages: Evidence from Latin America

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Listed:
  • William F. Maloney
  • Jairo Nunez Mendez

Abstract

This paper first provides an overview of the levels of minimum wages in Latin America and their true impact on the distribution of wages using both numerical measures and kernel density plots. It identifies numeraire' effects higher in the wage distribution and lighthouse' or reference effects in the unregulated or informal' sector. The final section then employs panel employment data from Colombia, a country where minimum wages seem high and very binding, to quantify the effects of an increase on wages and employment. The evidence suggests that in the Latin American context, the minimum wage has impacts beyond those usually contemplated in the advanced country literature.

Suggested Citation

  • William F. Maloney & Jairo Nunez Mendez, 2003. "Measuring the Impact of Minimum Wages: Evidence from Latin America," NBER Working Papers 9800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9800 Note: LS
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    1. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 772-793, September.
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    3. David Neumark & William L. Wascher, 2008. "Minimum Wages," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262141027, January.
    4. Fajnzylber, Pablo & Maloney, William F., 2001. "How comparable are labor demand elasticities across countries?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2658, The World Bank.
    5. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1999. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 251-334, March.
    6. Edward M. Gramlich, 1976. "Impact of Minimum Wages on Other Wages, Employment, and Family Incomes," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 7(2), pages 409-462.
    7. Abowd, J.M. & Kramarz, F. & Margolis, D.N., 1998. "Minimum Wages and Employment in France and the United States," Papiers du Laboratoire de Microéconomie Appliquée 1998-12, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
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    13. Norbert Fiess & Marco fugazza & William Maloney, 2002. "Exchange Rate Appreciations, Labor Market Rigidities, and Informality," Working Papers 2005_15, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
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    JEL classification:

    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics
    • R3 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location

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