Recent changes in child labor, wage differentials, and migration incentives in Peru: Gender and ethnic differentials

Vajeera Samanti Dorabawila, University of Pennsylvania


I examine how economic, social, demographic and political fluctuations in Peru from 1985 to 1997 have impact different demographic groups—children, adults, women and indigenous—by examining three aspects that have undergone change. Child labor, ethnic/gender wage differentials and migration flows in Peru have fluctuated. I use data from Peru Living Standard and Measurement Surveys 1985, 1994, 1996 and 1997. Methods utilized and the years of focus differ by issue. Fixed effects logits are used in examining child labor. Ordinary least squares and decomposition methods (Oaxacca and Blinder method, Cotton method, Oaxacca and Ransom method, and Kitagawa method) are used to examine the source of wage differential changes. Multinomial logits are the primary method in examining migration incentives. This dissertation concludes child work has increased in Peru from 1994 to 1997. The increase is in combining work with school and rather than a decline in school or an increase in full-time work. Household composition related factors (infants, younger siblings, adult females and employed adult females) are associated with changes in child work-school combinations. From 1994 to 1997 wage gap between the Spanish and the indigenous increased, whereas the gender gap declined. Ethnic wage differentials explained by endowment differences increased while that by wage returns decreased. Returns to observed endowments changed to the detriment of females while that due to endowments did not change. Migration to Lima has increased from 1985 to 1997. Expected migration incentives indicate that demographic and economic marriage markets are important incentives for males and females. Labor market characteristics are also important for males although one cannot refute their importance for females. These expected incentives are good indicators of actual reasons for migration in Peru. Prior migration is a good indicator of migration flows to Lima regardless of gender. The association with relative income differs by gender and direction of migration—better-off men and middle-income women were more likely to migrate in most directions.

Subject Area

Demographics|Labor economics

Recommended Citation

Dorabawila, Vajeera Samanti, "Recent changes in child labor, wage differentials, and migration incentives in Peru: Gender and ethnic differentials" (2002). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3043863.