Teachers' Salaries in Latin America: How Much are They (Under or Over) Paid?

37 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2011

See all articles by Alejandra Mizala

Alejandra Mizala

University of Chile - Industrial Engineering

Hugo Ñopo

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); IZA Institute of Labor Economics


This paper documents the extent to which teachers are underpaid vis-à-vis workers in other professional and technical occupations in Latin America circa 2007. These labor earnings differences, attributed to observable socio-demographic and job characteristics, are assessed using a matching methodology (Ñopo, 2008). Teachers' underpayment is found to be stronger than what has been previously reported in the literature, especially among pre-school and primary teachers. Nonetheless, behind the region averages there is an important cross-country heterogeneity. Teachers' underpayment is more pronounced among males, older workers, household heads, part-timers, formal workers, those who work in the private sector, and (mostly) among those with complete tertiary education. Two amenities of the teaching profession, namely the longer job tenure and the flexible job schedules within the year, are also explored. Even after accounting for the possible compensating differentials of these two amenities, teachers' underpayment vis-à-vis that of other professional and technicians prevail.

Keywords: wage differentials, professional labor markets, Latin America

JEL Classification: J31, J44, J8, O54

Suggested Citation

Mizala, Alejandra and Nopo, Hugo, Teachers' Salaries in Latin America: How Much are They (Under or Over) Paid?. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5947, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1922019

Alejandra Mizala (Contact Author)

University of Chile - Industrial Engineering ( email )

República 701, Santiago

Hugo Nopo

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) ( email )

1300 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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