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

  • Gurleen Popli

    ()

    (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)

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.

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Paper provided by The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2005016.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2005
Date of revision: Nov 2005
Handle: RePEc:shf:wpaper:2005016
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  1. 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 S20-43, July.
  2. Hanson, Gordon H, 1997. "Increasing Returns, Trade and the Regional Structure of Wages," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(440), pages 113-33, January.
  3. 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.
  4. Chinhui Juhn & Jim Airola, 2005. "Wage Inequality in Post-Reform Mexico," Working Papers 2005-01, Department of Economics, University of Houston.
  5. 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.
  6. Eduardo Lora, 2001. "Structural reforms in Latin America: What has been reformed and how to measure it?," Research Department Publications 4287, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Gordon H. Hanson & Ann Harrison, 1999. "Trade liberalization and wage inequality in Mexico," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(2), pages 271-288, January.
  10. Maloney, William F. & Nunez, Jairo & Cunningham, Wendy & Fiess, Norbert & Montenegro, Claudio & Murrugarra, Edmundo & Santamaria,Mauricio & Sepulveda, Claudia, 2001. "Measuring the impact of minimum wages : evidence from Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2597, The World Bank.
  11. 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 249-67, January.
  12. 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 410-42, June.
  13. 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.
  14. David Fairris, 2003. "Unions and wage inequality in Mexico," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(3), pages 481-497, April.
  15. 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.
  16. Gordon H. Hanson, 2003. "What Has Happened to Wages in Mexico since NAFTA?," NBER Working Papers 9563, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. 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.
  18. 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 467-80, November.
  19. Fairris, David & Popli, Gurleen & Zepeda, Eduardo, 2006. "Minimum wages and wage structure in Mexico," MPRA Paper 400, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2006.
  20. David Fairris, 2003. "Unions and Wage Inequality in Mexico," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(3), pages 481-497, April.
  21. Zadia M. Feliciano, 2001. "Workers and trade liberalization: The impact of trade reforms in Mexico on wages and employment," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(1), pages 95-115, October.
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