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How Does Decentralised Minimum-Wage Setting Affect Unemployment and Informality?: The Case of Indonesia


  • Margherita Comola
  • Luiz de Mello



The Indonesian labour market is characterised by widespread informality. To some extent, these outcomes can be attributed to a sharp increase in the real value of the minimum wage since 2001, when minimum-wage setting was decentralised to the provincial governments. To test this hypothesis, this paper uses survey data on the labour market (Sakernas), household income and expenditure (Susenas) and the industrial sector (Survei Industri) to construct a district-level dataset spanning the period 1996 to 2004. The effects of changes in the minimum wage on unemployment, formal-sector employment and the incidence of informality in urban areas are estimated separately by fixed effects and jointly by a seemingly unrelated regression (SUR) estimator. Our findings show that an increase in the minimum-to-mean wage ratio is associated with a net increase in employment: a rise in informal-sector employment more than compensates for job losses in the formal sector. This Working Paper relates to the 2008 OECD Economic Assessment of Indonesia ( Comment la décentralisation de la fixation du salaire minimum affecte le chômage et l'informalité ? L'expérience de l'Indonésie Le marché du travail indonésien est caractérisé par une importante informalité. Dans une certaine mesure, ces résultats peuvent être attribués à une forte augmentation de la valeur réelle du salaire minimum depuis 2001, quand la fixation du salaire minimum a été décentralisée vers les provinces. Pour tester cette hypothèse, ce document utilise les données des enquêtes sur le marché du travail (Sakernas), sur les revenus et les dépenses des ménages (Susenas) et sur le secteur industriel (Survei Industri) pour construire une base de données au niveau des administrations locales pour la période entre 1996 et 2004. Les effets de l’évolution du salaire minimum sur le chômage, sur l’emploi du secteur formel et sur l’informalité urbaine sont estimés séparément par un modèle à effets fixes et conjointement par SUR. Nos résultats suggèrent qu’une augmentation du ratio salaire minimum/salaire moyen entre 1996 et 2004 est accompagnée d’une nette augmentation de l’emploi : une augmentation de l’emploi du secteur informel a plus que compensé les pertes d’emploi du secteur formel. Ce Document de travail se rapporte à l’Évaluation économique de l’OCDE de l’Indonésie, 2008 (

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  • Margherita Comola & Luiz de Mello, 2009. "How Does Decentralised Minimum-Wage Setting Affect Unemployment and Informality?: The Case of Indonesia," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 710, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:710-en

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    Cited by:

    1. Dan Andrews & Aida Caldera Sánchez & Åsa Johansson, 2011. "Towards a Better Understanding of the Informal Economy," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 873, OECD Publishing.
    2. Belman, Dale. & Wolfson, Paul., 2016. "What does the minimum wage do in developing countries? : A review of studies and methodologies," ILO Working Papers 994893283402676, International Labour Organization.
    3. Comola, Margherita & de Mello, Luiz, 2010. "Fiscal Decentralization and Urbanization in Indonesia," WIDER Working Paper Series 058, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Mitsuhiko Kataoka, 2015. "Interprovincial differences in the endowment and utilization in labour force by educational attainment in Indonesia's post-crisis economy," ERSA conference papers ersa15p878, European Regional Science Association.

    More about this item


    chômage; emploi; employment; Indonesia; Indonésie; informality; informalité; minimum wage; salaire minimum; unemployment;

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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