Do minimum wages in Latin America and the Caribbean matter ? Evidence from 19 countries
Despite the existence of minimum wage legislation in most Latin American countries, there is little empirical evidence demonstrating its impact on the distribution of wages. In this study the authors analyze cross-country data for 19 Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries to gain an understanding of if and how minimum wages affect wage distributions in LAC countries. Although there is no single minimum wage institution in the LAC region, the authors find regional trends. Minimum wages affect the wage distribution in both the formal and, especially, the informal sector, both at the minimum wage and at multiples of the minimum. The minimum does not uniformly benefit low-wage workers: in countries where the minimum wage is relatively low compared to mean wages, the minimum wage affects the more disadvantaged segments of the labor force, namely informal sector workers, women, young and older workers, and the low skilled, but in countries where the minimum wage is relatively high compared to the wage distribution, it primarily affects wages of the high skilled. This indicates that the minimum does not generally lift the wages of all, but instead, it offers a wage into which employers can"lock in"wages that are already near that level. Thus, minimum wage legislation is more far-reaching than originally thought, affecting both the uncovered informal sector and those earning above the minimum. In addition, the relative level of the minimum wage is important for determining whose wages are affected.
|Date of creation:||01 Mar 2006|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433|
Phone: (202) 477-1234
Web page: http://www.worldbank.org/
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- William Maloney & Jairo Mendez, 2004.
"Measuring the Impact of Minimum Wages. Evidence from Latin America,"
in: Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean, pages 109-130
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- William F. Maloney & Jairo Nunez Mendez, 2003. "Measuring the Impact of Minimum Wages: Evidence from Latin America," NBER Working Papers 9800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Maloney, William, 2003.
Policy Research Working Paper Series
2965, The World Bank.
- repec:sae:ilrrev:v:49:y:1996:i:3:p:547-552 is not listed on IDEAS
- David Neumark & William Wascher, 1997.
"Do Minimum Wages Fight Poverty?,"
NBER Working Papers
6127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bell, Linda A, 1997. "The Impact of Minimum Wages in Mexico and Colombia," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages S102-35, July.
- Gabriel Ulyssea & Miguel N. Foguel, 2006. "Efeitos do Salário Mínimo Sobre o Mercado de Trabalho Brasileiro," Discussion Papers 1168, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA.
- Brown, Charles, 1999. "Minimum wages, employment, and the distribution of income," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 32, pages 2101-2163 Elsevier.
- Sidney Webb, 1912. "The Economic Theory of a Legal Minimum Wage," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20, pages 973.
- Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1994.
"Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 772-93, September.
- David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1993. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," NBER Working Papers 4509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3870. 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: (Roula I. Yazigi)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.