Changes in Wage Structure in Mexico Going Beyond the Mean: An Analysis of Differences in Distribution, 1987-2008

Claudia Tello, Raul Ramos and Manuel Artís

This paper conducts an empirical analysis of the relationship between wage inequality, employment structure, and returns to education in urban areas of Mexico during the past two decades (1987-2008). Applying Melly’s (2005) quantile regression based decomposition, the authors find that changes in wage inequality have been driven mainly by variations in educational wage premia. Additionally, they find that changes in employment structure, including occupation and firm size, have played a vital role. This evidence seems to suggest that the changes in wage inequality in urban Mexico cannot be interpreted in terms of a skill-biased change, but rather they are the result of an increasing demand for skills during that period.

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