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Activities, employment, and wages in rural and semi-urban Mexico


  • Verner, Dorte


The author addresses the labor markets in rural and semi-urban Mexico. The empirical analyses show that non-farm income shares increase with overall consumption levels and, also, with time. Rural-dwellers in lower quintiles of the consumption distribution tend to earn a larger share of their nonagricultural incomes from wage labor activities. For the poorest, low-productivity wage labor activities are important. The quantile wage regression analysis for rural Mexico shows a rather heterogeneous impact pattern of individual characteristics across the wage distribution on monthly wages. The author's findings reveal that education is key to earning higher wages, and that workers in more dispersed rural areas earn less than their peers in semi-urban rural areas (localities with less than 15,000 inhabitants). The rural non-farm sector is heterogeneous and includes a great variety of activities and productivity levels across non-farm jobs. Moreover it can reduce poverty in a couple of distinct but qualitatively important ways in rural Mexico. The analysis of non-farm employment in rural Mexico suggests that the two key determinants of access to employment and productivity in non-farm activities are education and location.

Suggested Citation

  • Verner, Dorte, 2005. "Activities, employment, and wages in rural and semi-urban Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3561, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3561

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Finan, Frederico & Sadoulet, Elisabeth & de Janvry, Alain, 2005. "Measuring the poverty reduction potential of land in rural Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 27-51, June.
    2. Finan, Frederico & Sadoulet, Elisabeth & de Janvry, Alain, 2005. "Measuring the poverty reduction potential of land in rural Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 27-51, June.
    3. J. Edward Taylor & Antonio Yunez-Naude, 2000. "The Returns from Schooling in a Diversified Rural Economy," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 82(2), pages 287-297.
    4. Omar Arias & Walter Sosa-Escudero & Kevin F. Hallock, 2001. "Individual heterogeneity in the returns to schooling: instrumental variables quantile regression using twins data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 7-40.
    5. Moshe Buchinsky, 1998. "Recent Advances in Quantile Regression Models: A Practical Guideline for Empirical Research," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 88-126.
    6. Lanjouw, Jean O. & Lanjouw, Peter, 2001. "The rural non-farm sector: issues and evidence from developing countries," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 26(1), pages 1-23, October.
    7. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
    8. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    9. Maloney, William F. & Pontual Ribeiro, Eduardo, 1999. "Efficiency wage and union effects in labor demand and wage structure in Mexico - An application of quantile analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2131, The World Bank.
    10. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
    11. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1992. "U.S. Earnings Levels and Earnings Inequality: A Review of Recent Trends and Proposed Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1333-1381, September.
    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 410-442, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Unai Pascual & Edward B. Barbier, 2007. "On Price Liberalization, Poverty, and Shifting Cultivation: An Example from Mexico," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 83(2), pages 192-216.

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