Journal of International Development Studies
Online ISSN : 2434-5296
Print ISSN : 1342-3045
Policy Reforms and Female Labor in Mexico
Setsuko YUKAWA
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2004 Volume 13 Issue 1 Pages 1-14


The Latin American countries have implemented policy reforms since the mid 1980s, shifting away from state-led inward-looking development policies to export-oriented growth model. It was argued that the region's labor problems would be resolved by eliminating distortions of the factor and goods markets. Contrary to this expectation, however, many researchers assess rather negatively the impact of the policy reforms on labor, and point out that the income gap between skilled and unskilled workers has widened.

This paper analyzes the recent trend in the Mexican labor market, placing focus on the female labor. In difference from the case of male workers, the wage gap between skilled and unskilled female wage earners has not widened, although the average income of female employers, a tiny part of the labor force, has substantially increased while the earnings of other types of workers have rather stagnated or decreased, thus widening the income gap between these two groups.

In view of the policy objectives of Mexico, that is, alleviation of poverty and inequality, it would be necessary to strengthen the educational and training policies, to expand part-time employment opportunities for female workers, and to implement supportive measures for women, especially those in the low income strata who have to bear house keeping and child rearing responsibilities by themselves, so that they have greater access to income generating activities.

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© 2004 The Japan Society for International Development
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