IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Evidence on the impact of minimum wage laws in an informal sector: Domestic workers in South Africa

  • Taryn Dinkelman

    (Princeton University)

  • Vimal Ranchhod

    (University of Cape Town)

What happens when a previously uncovered labor market is regulated? We exploit the in- troduction of a minimum wage in South Africa and variation in the intensity of this law to identify increases in wages and formal contract coverage, and no signi cant e ects on employment on the intensive or extensive margins for domestic workers. These large, partial responses to the law are somewhat surprising, given the lack of monitoring and enforcement in this informal sector. We interpret these changes as evidence that external sanctions are not necessary for new labor legislation to have a signi cant impact on informal sectors of developing countries, at least in the short-run.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies. in its series Working Papers with number 1254.

in new window

Date of creation: Jul 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pri:rpdevs:dinkelman_ranchhod_minwages_0710
Contact details of provider: Postal: 208 Fisher Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544
Phone: (609) 258 - 6403
Fax: (609) 258 - 5974
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Chang, Yang-Ming & Ehrlich, Isaac, 1985. "On the Economics of Compliance with the Minimum Wage Law," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(1), pages 84-91, February.
  2. Tom Hertz, 2005. "The Effect of Minimum Wages on the Employment and Earnings of South Africa’s Domestic Service Workers," Working Papers 05099, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
  3. Neumark, David & Wascher, William, 2007. "Minimum Wages and Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 2570, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2002. "Can labour regulation hinder economic performance? Evidence from India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3779, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Christian Zehnder, . "The Behavioral Effects of Minimum Wages," IEW - Working Papers 247, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  6. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:97:y:1982:i:4:p:543-69 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Cortes, Kalena E., 2004. "Wage Effects on Immigrants from an Increase in the Minimum Wage Rate: An Analysis by Immigrant Industry Concentration," IZA Discussion Papers 1064, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Basu, Arnab K. & Chau, Nancy H. & Kanbur, Ravi, 2005. "Turning a Blind Eye: Costly Enforcement, Credible Commitment and Minimum Wage Laws," Working Papers 127081, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  9. James B. Rebitzer & Lowell J. Taylor, 1991. "The Consequences of Minimum Wage Laws: Some New Theoretical Ideas," NBER Working Papers 3877, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. DiNardo, John & Fortin, Nicole M & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1001-44, September.
  11. Squire, Lyn & Suthiwart-Narueput, Sethaput, 1995. "The impact of labor market regulations," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1418, The World Bank.
  12. Alexandre Mas, 2006. "Pay, Reference Points, and Police Performance," NBER Working Papers 12202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. John R. Lott Jr. & Russell D. Roberts, 1995. "The Expected Penalty for Committing a Crime: An Analysis of Minimum Wage Violations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(2), pages 397-408.
  14. Bell, Linda A, 1997. "The Impact of Minimum Wages in Mexico and Colombia," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages S102-35, July.
  15. David E. Bloom & Gilles Grenier, 1986. "Models of Firm Behavior Under Minimum Wage Legislation," NBER Working Papers 1877, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Stephen G. Donald & Kevin Lang, 2007. "Inference with Difference-in-Differences and Other Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 221-233, May.
  17. James Konow, 2003. "Which Is the Fairest One of All? A Positive Analysis of Justice Theories," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1188-1239, December.
  18. Grenier, Gilles, 1982. "On Compliance with the Minimum Wage Law," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(1), pages 184-87, February.
  19. Patricia Cort�s & Jessica Pan, 2013. "Outsourcing Household Production: Foreign Domestic Workers and Native Labor Supply in Hong Kong," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(2), pages 327 - 371.
  20. Akerlof, George A, 1984. "Gift Exchange and Efficiency-Wage Theory: Four Views," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 79-83, May.
  21. Neumark, David & Wascher, William, 1995. "Minimum-Wage Effects on School and Work Transitions of Teenagers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 244-49, May.
  22. Brown, Charles, 1988. "Minimum Wage Laws: Are They Overrated?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 133-45, Summer.
  23. David Weil, 2005. "Public enforcement/private monitoring: Evaluating a new approach to regulating the minimum wage," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(2), pages 238-257, January.
  24. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:114:y:1999:i:3:p:977-1023 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2004. "Do Labour Market Conditions Affect Gift Exchange? Some Experimental Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 684-708, 07.
  26. Ashenfelter, Orley & Smith, Robert S, 1979. "Compliance with the Minimum Wage Law," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(2), pages 333-50, April.
  27. Lemos, Sara, 2009. "Minimum wage effects in a developing country," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 224-237, April.
  28. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gachter & Georg Kirchsteiger, 1997. "Reciprocity as a Contract Enforcement Device: Experimental Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 833-860, July.
  29. Yang-Ming Chang, 1992. "Noncompliance Behavior of Risk-Averse Firms Under the Minimum Wage Law," Public Finance Review, , vol. 20(3), pages 390-401, July.
  30. Banerjee, Abhijit & Duflo, Esther, 2006. "The Economic Lives of the Poor," CEPR Discussion Papers 5968, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  31. David Weil, 2005. "Public Enforcement/Private Monitoring: Evaluating a New Approach to Regulating the Minimum Wage," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(2), pages 238-257, January.
  32. Nicola Branson, 2009. "Re-weighting the OHS and LFS National household Survey Data to create a consistent series over time: A Cross Entropy Estimation Approach," SALDRU Working Papers 38, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  33. T. H. Gindling & Katherine Terrell, 2004. "Legal Minimum Wages and the Wages of Formal and Informal Sector Workers in Costa Rica," UMBC Economics Department Working Papers 04-102, UMBC Department of Economics.
  34. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:119:y:2004:i:1:p:249-275 is not listed on IDEAS
  35. Gindling, T. H. & Terrell, Katherine, 2004. "Legal Minimum Wages and the Wages of Formal and Informal Sector Workers in Costa Rica," IZA Discussion Papers 1018, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  36. I. M. Rubinow, 1906. "The Problem of Domestic Service," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14, pages 502.
  37. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  38. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1988. "Fairness and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 44-49, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pri:rpdevs:dinkelman_ranchhod_minwages_0710. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (David Long)

The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask David Long to update the entry or send us the correct address

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.