HOW DOES DECENTRALIZED MINIMUM WAGE SETTING AFFECT EMPLOYMENT AND INFORMALITY? THE CASE OF INDONESIA
The Indonesian labor market is characterized by widespread and growing informality (defined as non-salaried work). To what extent can the growth in informality be attributed to a sharp increase in the real value of the minimum wage since 2001, when minimum-wage setting was decentralized to the provincial governments? To answer this and related questions we use survey data on the labor market, on household income and expenditure, and on the industrial sector to construct a district-level dataset spanning the period 1996 to 2004. The effects of changes in the minimum wage on unemployment, formal-sector employment, and the incidence of informality in urban areas are estimated by fixed effects with a seemingly unrelated regression estimator. We find that an increase in the ratio of the minimum to the mean wage is associated with a net increase in employment: a rise in informal-sector employment more than compensates for job losses in the formal sector.
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