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Minimum Wages, Inequality and Globalization

  • T. H. Gindling

    ()

  • Katherine Terrell

    ()

This paper contributes to our understanding of the impact of institutions on incomes of workers in developing countries by rigorously addressing the question as to whether changes in minimum wages can change the inequality of the distribution of earnings. More specifically, we analyze whether changes in Costa Rica’s complex institution of multiple minimum wages in the 1980s and 1990s acted as a countervailing force to the unequalizing effect of globalization. Using annual data on workers from the 1987-1997 household surveys, it is shown that changes in the legal minimum wages did indeed have an effect on wage inequality and that these changes would not have been captured using the simple interpretation of minimum wages found in much of the literature.

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File URL: http://www.wdi.umich.edu/files/Publications/WorkingPapers/wp700.pdf
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Paper provided by William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan in its series William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series with number 2004-700.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 01 May 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2004-700
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  1. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2002. "Skill Biased Technological Change and Rising Wage Inequality: Some Problems and Puzzles," NBER Working Papers 8769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Eli Berman & John Bound & Stephen Machin, 1998. "Implications Of Skill-Biased Technological Change: International Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1245-1279, November.
  3. Robbins, Donald & Gindling, T H, 1999. "Trade Liberalization and the Relative Wages for More-Skilled Workers in Costa Rica," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 140-54, June.
  4. Feenstra, Robert C & Hanson, Gordon H, 1996. "Globalization, Outsourcing, and Wage Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 240-45, May.
  5. Cortez, Willy W., 2001. "What is Behind Increasing Wage Inequality in Mexico?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1905-1922, November.
  6. 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.
  7. Gindling, T. H. & Robbins, Donald, 2001. "Patterns and Sources of Changing Wage Inequality in Chile and Costa Rica During Structural Adjustment," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 725-745, April.
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