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

The Rise and Fall of Income Inequality in Mexico, 1989-2010

  • Raymundo Campos


    (Center for Economic Studies, El Colegio de Mexico)

  • Gerado Esquivel


    (Center for Economic Studies, El Colegio de Mexico)

  • Nora Lustig


    (Department of Economics, Tulane University)

Inequality in Mexico rose between 1989 and 1994 and declined between 1994 and 2010. We examine the role of market forces (demand and supply of labour by skill), institutional factors (minimum wages and unionization rate), and public policy (cash transfers) in explaining changes in inequality. We apply the "re-centered influence function" method to decompose changes in hourly wages into characteristics and returns. The main driver is changes in returns. Returns rose (1989-1994) due to institutional factors and labour demand. Returns declined (1994-2006) due to changes in supply and-to a lesser extent-in demand; institutional factors were not relevant. Government transfers contributed to the decline in inequality, especially after 2000.

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:
File Function: First Version, 2012
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Tulane University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1201.

in new window

Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1201
Contact details of provider: Postal: 206 Tilton Hall, New Orleans, LA 70118
Phone: (504) 865-5321
Fax: (504) 865-5869
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. Eric A. Verhoogen, 2008. "Trade, Quality Upgrading, and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(2), pages 489-530, 05.
  2. Gasparini, Leonardo & Galiani, Sebastian & Cruces, Guillermo & Acosta, Pablo A., 2011. "Educational Upgrading and Returns to Skills in Latin America: Evidence from a Supply-Demand Framework, 1990-2010," IZA Discussion Papers 6244, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Nicole Fortin & Thomas Lemieux & Sergio Firpo, 2010. "Decomposition Methods in Economics," NBER Working Papers 16045, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Cesar Patricio Bouillon & Arianna Legovini & Nora Lustig, 2003. "Rising Inequality in Mexico: Household Characteristics and Regional Effects," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(4), pages 112-133.
  6. Bound, John & Johnson, George, 1992. "Changes in the Structure of Wages in the 1980's: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 371-92, June.
  7. Le, Huong Thu & Booth, Alison L., 2010. "Inequality in Vietnamese Urban-Rural Living Standards, 1993-2006," IZA Discussion Papers 4987, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Nidardo, J. & Fortin, N. & Lemieux, T., 1994. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Papers 93-94-15, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  9. Victor Chernozhukov & Ivan Fernandez-Val & Blaise Melly, 2009. "Inference on counterfactual distributions," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/09, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  10. Marco Manacorda & Carolina Sanchez-Paramo & Norbert Schady, 2010. "Changes in Returns to Education in Latin America: The Role of Demand and Supply of Skills," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(2), pages 307-326, January.
  11. Bosch, Mariano & Manacorda, Marco, 2010. "Minimum Wages and Earnings Inequality in Urban Mexico," CEPR Discussion Papers 7882, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Chi, Wei & Li, Bo & Yu, Qiumei, 2011. "Decomposition of the increase in earnings inequality in urban China: A distributional approach," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 299-312, September.
  14. Atolia, Manoj, 2007. "Trade liberalization and rising wage inequality in Latin America: Reconciliation with HOS theory," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 467-494, April.
  15. 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.
  16. Ben Jann, 2008. "A Stata implementation of the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition," ETH Zurich Sociology Working Papers 5, ETH Zurich, Chair of Sociology, revised 14 May 2008.
  17. Robertson, Raymond, 2004. "Relative prices and wage inequality: evidence from Mexico," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 387-409, December.
  18. Sergio Firpo & Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Unconditional Quantile Regressions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 953-973, 05.
  19. Gordon H. Hanson, 2003. "What Has Happened to Wages in Mexico since NAFTA?," NBER Working Papers 9563, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. 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.
  21. Nora Lustig, 2011. "Scholars Who Became Practitioners: the Influence of Research on the Design, Evaluation and Political Survival of Mexico's Anti-poverty Program Progresa/Oportunidades," Working Papers 1123, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  22. José Mata & José A. F. Machado, 2005. "Counterfactual decomposition of changes in wage distributions using quantile regression," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(4), pages 445-465.
  23. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2002. "Skill-Biased Technological Change and Rising Wage Inequality: Some Problems and Puzzles," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 733-783, October.
  24. Francois Bourguignon & Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Nora Lusting, 2005. "The Microeconomics of Income Distribution Dynamics in East Asia and Latin America," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14844, March.
  25. Stark, Oded & Taylor, J Edward & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1986. "Remittances and Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(383), pages 722-40, September.
  26. 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.
  27. Airola, Jim & Juhn, Chinhui, 2005. "Wage Inequality in Post-Reform Mexico," IZA Discussion Papers 1525, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  28. David Fairris & Gurleen Popli & Eduardo Zepeda, 2008. "Minimum Wages and the Wage Structure in Mexico," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 66(2), pages 181-208.
  29. Raymond Robertson, 2007. "Trade and Wages: Two Puzzles from Mexico," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(9), pages 1378-1398, 09.
  30. Almeida dos Reis, Jose Guilherme & Paes de Barros, Ricardo, 1991. "Wage inequality and the distribution of education : A study of the evolution of regional differences in inequality in metropolitan Brazil," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 117-143, July.
  31. 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.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Nora Lustig in Wikipedia English ne '')
  2. Nora Lustig in Wikipedia Spanish ne '')
  3. User:The Vintage Feminist/Temp2 in Wikipedia English ne '')

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1201. 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: (Sean Higgins)

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.