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Racial Inequality in the Uruguayan Labor Market:An analysis of wage differentials between Afrodescendants and whites


  • Marisa Bucheli

    () (Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de la República)

  • Rafael Porzecanski

    (Ph.D. Program, Department of Sociology, UCLA. Associate Researcher, Faculty of Administration and Social Sciences, Universidad ORT Uruguay.)


Latin America is a region of sharp inequalities that are far from ethnically blind. In particular, there exists a significant socioeconomic gap between Latin Americans of European and the Afrodescendant and Indigenouos populations. Uruguay has usually been considered an exception to this pattern, although the lack of survey data about racial descent and ethnicity did not allow empirical analysis. In 2006, the National Institute of Statistics included a question on racial descent in the Household Survey. In this paper we use these microdata (for the first time) to analyze the wage gap between afro-descendants and whites. The wage ratio is 0.72 for men and 0.78 for women. For each sex, we perform OLS estimations, wage decompositions and quantile regressions. The estimations indicate that discrimination contributes to explain half of the average wage gap of men and 20% of the gap among femles. Part of discrimination works through the placement of Afro-descendant workers into lower-paid occupations. The most important attribute that explains the rest of the gap is education. Finally, quantile regressions show that discrimination declines with percentile.

Suggested Citation

  • Marisa Bucheli & Rafael Porzecanski, 2008. "Racial Inequality in the Uruguayan Labor Market:An analysis of wage differentials between Afrodescendants and whites," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 1508, Department of Economics - dECON.
  • Handle: RePEc:ude:wpaper:1508

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Edward Telles & Nelson Lim, 1998. "Does it matter who answers the race question? Racial classification and income inequality in Brazil," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 35(4), pages 465-474, November.
    2. Krishna Pendakur & Ravi Pendakur, 2007. "Minority Earnings Disparity Across the Distribution," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 33(1), pages 41-62, March.
    3. Sara Rica & Juan Dolado & Vanesa Llorens, 2008. "Ceilings or floors? Gender wage gaps by education in Spain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(3), pages 751-776, July.
    4. Gad Levanon & Yaron Raviv, 2007. "Decomposing Wage Gaps between Ethnic Groups: The Case of Israel," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 1066-1087, April.
    5. Neuman, Shoshana & Oaxaca, Ronald L, 1998. "Estimating Labour Market Discrimination with Selectivity Corrected Wage Equations: Methodological Considerations and an Illustration from Israel," CEPR Discussion Papers 1915, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    7. Omar Arias & Gustavo Yamada & Luis Tejerina, 2004. "Education, Family Backgrounds and Racial Earnings Inequality in Brazil," Working Papers 04-04, Centro de Investigación, Universidad del Pacífico, revised 2004.
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    Cited by:

    1. Florencia Amábile & Marisa Bucheli & Máximo Rossi, 2014. "Inequality and poverty in Uruguay by race: the impact of fiscal policies," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 19, Tulane University, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2015.
    2. Gustavo A. García, 2017. "Labor Informality: Choice or Sign of Segmentation? A Quantile Regression Approach at the Regional Level for Colombia," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(4), pages 985-1017, November.
    3. Bilver Adrian Astorquiza Bustos, 2015. "¿Coexisten los fenómenos de discriminación salarial y segmentación ocupacional hacia las minorías étnico-raciales residentes en Santiago de Cali?," REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA DEL CARIBE 014778, UNIVERSIDAD DEL NORTE.
    4. Leda M. Pérez & Pedro Llanos Paredes, 2015. "¿Al fondo del escalafón?: un estado de la cuestión sobre el trabajo doméstico remunerado en el Perú," Working Papers 15-01, Centro de Investigación, Universidad del Pacífico.

    More about this item


    race; discrimination; wage inequality; Uruguay;

    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing


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