Poverty, Legal Status, and Pay Basis: The Case of U.S. Agriculture

28 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2010


U.S. farmworkers primarily are paid either on a piecerate or on a timerate basis. This article studies relationships among wage contracts, legal status, and poverty using a representative survey of employed farmworkers, which includes detailed information on legal status, including whether a worker is illegal. Results indicate that while piecerate workers earn more per hour on average, they work fewer hours and face greater poverty risk than their timerate counterparts. Furthermore, foreign-born workers, especially those who are undocumented, are overrepresented in piecerate positions, and analysis shows that the effect of piecerate pay on poverty is positive and correlated with being foreign-born.

Suggested Citation

PENA, ANITA ALVES, Poverty, Legal Status, and Pay Basis: The Case of U.S. Agriculture. Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Vol. 49, No. 3, pp. 429-456, July 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1619058 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-232X.2010.00608.x

ANITA ALVES PENA (Contact Author)

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