Does the minimum wage have a higher impact on the informal than on the formal labour market? Evidence from quasi-experiments

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Abstract:

This article investigates a puzzle in the literature on labour markets in developing countries: labour legislations not only have an impact on the formal labour market but also an impact on the informal sector. It has even been argued that the impact on the informal sector in the case of the minimum wage is stronger than on the formal sector. Using quasi-experiments of minimum wage changes and thereby exploiting geographical variation of the minimum wage bite, I find evidence for this hypothesis. Informal workers, workers without social security contribution, experienced significant wage increases when the minimum wage was raised while formal workers did not. This result highlights that noncompliance with one labour legislation, the social security contribution, does not necessarily imply noncompliance to other labour laws such as the minimum wage.

Keywords: Argentina; J31; J42; informal economy; minimum wages; quasi-experiments; wages

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00036846.2011.605763

Affiliations: Department of Economics,Wesleyan University, 238 Church StreetMiddletownCT 06459-0007, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2013

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