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Work Contracts and Earnings Inequality: The Case of Chile

Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes ()

Journal of Development Studies, 2005, vol. 41, issue 4, 589-616

Abstract: Great social inequality has been one of the worrisome features of economic development in Latin America. This study focuses on Chile, one of Latin America's fastest growing economies with one of the highest levels of income inequality during the 1990s. Using micro-level data from the 1994 and 2000 Encuestas de Caracterizacion Socio-Economica, this article examines the role of work contracts in explaining male and female earnings and earnings inequality among wage and salary workers over the second half of the 1990s. The analysis distinguishes between wage and salary work without a work contract - referred to as 'informal' work, and wage and salary work with a work contract. Within the latter group, the study further differentiates by the type of work contract held, such as permanent and a variety of contingent work contracts. The findings reveal that the majority of employees in informal and contingent wage and salary work arrangements earned significantly less than their permanent counterparts. Additionally, informal and contingent wage and salary work arrangements accounted for a small, although increasing, fraction of male and female earnings inequality from 1994 to 2000. Finally, the proliferation of seasonal, fixed-term, and informal wage and salary work arrangements has been one of the few economically significant factors in explaining changes in male and female earnings inequality over the second half of the 1990s.

Date: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:41:y:2005:i:4:p:589-616