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Rising Wage Inequality in Mexico: Structural Reforms or Changing Labor Market Institutions?

Author

Listed:
  • Gurleen Popli

    () (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)

Abstract

Over the period of the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s Mexico experienced a significant increase in wage inequality. The literature has typically attributed this rise in inequality to trade liberalization and foreign direct investment. We argue, however, that a better explanation can be found in the changing labor market institutions such as declining union power and the declining real value of the minimum wage. We offer evidence to suggest that these domestic institutional changes have indeed contributed to growing wage inequality, and show that the timing of these institutional changes better matches the trajectory of wage inequality in Mexico than does the timing of reforms.

Suggested Citation

  • Gurleen Popli, 2005. "Rising Wage Inequality in Mexico: Structural Reforms or Changing Labor Market Institutions?," Working Papers 2005016, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2005.
  • Handle: RePEc:shf:wpaper:2005016
    as

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    File URL: http://www.shef.ac.uk/content/1/c6/03/91/72/SERP2005016.pdf
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    File URL: http://www.shef.ac.uk/content/1/c6/03/91/72/SERP2005016.pdf
    File Function: Revised version, 2005
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Nora Lustig, 2001. "Life Is Not Easy: Mexico's Quest for Stability and Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 85-106, Winter.
    2. Behrman, Jere R & Deolalikar, Anil B, 1991. "School Repetition, Dropouts, and the Rates of Return to Schooling: The Case of Indonesia," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 53(4), pages 467-480, November.
    3. Binder, Melissa & Woodruff, Christopher, 2002. "Inequality and Intergenerational Mobility in Schooling: The Case of Mexico," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(2), pages 249-267, January.
    4. Eduardo Lora, 1997. "A Decade of Structural Reform in Latin America: What Has Been Reformed and How to Measure It," Research Department Publications 4074, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    5. Eduardo Lora, 2001. "Structural Reforms in Latin America: What Has Been Reformed and How to Measure It," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 3338, Inter-American Development Bank.
    6. Esquivel, Gerardo & Rodriguez-Lopez, Jose Antonio, 2003. "Technology, trade, and wage inequality in Mexico before and after NAFTA," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 543-565, December.
    7. William Maloney & Jairo Mendez, 2004. "Measuring the Impact of Minimum Wages. Evidence from Latin America," NBER Chapters,in: Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean, pages 109-130 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Revenga, Ana, 1997. "Employment and Wage Effects of Trade Liberalization: The Case of Mexican Manufacturing," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages 20-43, July.
    9. Zadia M. Feliciano, 2001. "Workers and Trade Liberalization: The Impact of Trade Reforms in Mexico on Wages and Employment," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(1), pages 95-115, October.
    10. Feenstra, Robert C. & Hanson, Gordon H., 1997. "Foreign direct investment and relative wages: Evidence from Mexico's maquiladoras," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-4), pages 371-393, May.
    11. Jim Airola & Chinhui Juhn, 2008. "Wage Inequality in Post-Reform Mexico," Journal of Income Distribution, Ad libros publications inc., vol. 17(1), pages 110-134, March.
    12. Hanson, Gordon H, 1997. "Increasing Returns, Trade and the Regional Structure of Wages," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(440), pages 113-133, January.
    13. David Fairris, 2003. "Unions and Wage Inequality in Mexico," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(3), pages 481-497, April.
    14. Eduardo Lora, 2001. "Structural Reforms in Latin America: What Has Been Reformed and How to Measure It," Research Department Publications 4293, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    15. Gordon H. Hanson, 2003. "What Has Happened to Wages in Mexico since NAFTA?," NBER Working Papers 9563, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Fairris, David & Popli, Gurleen & Zepeda, Eduardo, 2006. "Minimum wages and wage structure in Mexico," MPRA Paper 400, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2006.
    17. Gordon H. Hanson & Ann Harrison, 1999. "Trade Liberalization and Wage Inequality in Mexico," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(2), pages 271-288, January.
    18. Machado, Roberto & Morley, Samuel A. & Pettinato, Stefano, 1999. "Indexes of structural reform in Latin America," Series Históricas 12, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    19. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-442, June.
    20. Rudiger Dornbusch & Alejandro Werner, 1994. "Mexico: Stabilization, Reform, and No Growth," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 253-316.
    21. Eduardo Lora, 1997. "A Decade of Structural Reform in Latin America: What Has Been Reformed and How to Measure It," Research Department Publications 4074, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    22. Cragg, Michael Ian & Epelbaum, Mario, 1996. "Why has wage dispersion grown in Mexico? Is it the incidence of reforms or the growing demand for skills?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 99-116, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bosch, Mariano & Manacorda, Marco, 2008. "Minimum wages and earnings inequality in urban Mexico. Revisiting the evidence," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19561, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. repec:col:000385:015950 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wage inequality; Structural reforms; Labor Market Institutions; Mexico.;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General

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