What Has Happened to Wages in Mexico Since NAFTA?

45 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2003 Last revised: 1 Nov 2010

See all articles by Gordon H. Hanson

Gordon H. Hanson

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: March 2003

Abstract

In this paper, I examine the impacts of trade and investment liberalization on the wage structure of Mexico. Part one of the paper surveys recent literature on the labor-market consequences of Mexico's economic reforms in the 1980?s. Mexico's policy reforms appear to have raised the demand for skill in the country, reduced rents in industries that prior to reform paid their workers high wages, and raised the premium paid to workers in states along the U.S. border. These changes have resulted in an increase in wage dispersion in the country. Part two of the paper examines changes in Mexico's wage structure during the 1990's. In the last decade, Mexico has experienced rising returns to skill, which mirror closely wage movements in the United States. There is, however, little evidence of wage convergence between the two countries. Regional wage differentials in Mexico have widened and appear to be explained largely by variation in regional access to foreign trade and investment and in regional opportunities for migration to the United States. I discuss implications of Mexico's experience for the rest of Latin America in the event a Free Trade Agreement of the Americas is enacted.

Suggested Citation

Hanson, Gordon H., What Has Happened to Wages in Mexico Since NAFTA? (March 2003). NBER Working Paper No. w9563. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=387620

Gordon H. Hanson (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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