Crisis económica de 2008-2009: Cambios en la desigualdad salarial entre regiones de acuerdo con su exposición a la apertura comercial

Crhistian Joel González Cuatianquis, Reyna Elizabeth Rodríguez Pérez


Se analizan los cambios de la desigualdad salarial en regiones de México, de acuerdo con su grado de exposición a la apertura comercial. Con la metodología Juhn-Murphy-Pierce (1991,1993), y la Encuesta de Ocupación y Empleo, 2005, 2009 y 2020. Los resultados indican que, en 2009, año en que se reflejan los efectos de la crisis económica, los salarios disminuyeron en todas las regiones del país hasta 2020, afectando principalmente a la más expuesta a la apertura comercial. Esto trajo como consecuencia que disminuyera la desigualdad entre las regiones, los cambios se explican por una reducción del empleo en la manufactura y una caída en los salarios reales de los trabajadores calificados.


Today, more than 30 years after Mexico began the process of trade openness, it can be observed that there has been a relocation of the country's economic activities, causing that the central region is no longer the most important economic engine. However, this same relocation has meant that not all regions are capable to attract investment that contributes to economic growth and, therefore, workers in each of the regions are affected differently. In the studies carried out on the effects of trade liberalization on the Mexican economy and labor market, there is no consensus on the effects of the change in the economic model on workers in different regions of the country, and little has been studied about the vulnerability in the face of external economic shocks to which those regions are inserted in a more structural way in the global dynamics. The main objective of this article is to analyze the changes in wage inequality in the face of the effects of the 2008 economic crisis, between regions of Mexico according to their exposure to trade liberalization. The years of study were chosen according to the following criteria: the year 2005 is presented as a stable year that avoids possible alterations due to the crisis of 2000; The inclusion of 2009 will allow us to capture the behavior of the wage gap between workers by region, assimilating the effects that could occur during the 2008 economic crisis and finally 2020 will allow us to contrast whether the wage gap returns to pre-crisis levels or continues with a definite pattern. According to some studies, real wages fell in 2008 and 2009, in addition there was a differentiated effect in the regions of Mexico according to the degree of international economic integration since the regions are more globalized and integrated into the United States economy, the greater the impact of recessions. For this crisis it is concluded that in the northern region of the country, where a large part of the production is destined for export, the decrease in demand led to a fall in production and a large loss of jobs, contrary to what happened in the southern region. In this work, data from the first quarter of the National Survey of Occupation and Employment 2005, 2009 and 2020 are used. The analysis is applied to paid and salaried workers aged 16 to 65, who are employed in the three regions of Mexico, identified according to their exposure to commercial opening. Workers are classified according to sex, age, educational years, working hours, economic sector and job qualification. Workers' wages are captured on a monthly basis and converted to hourly wages. For purposes of comparison over time, hourly wages were deflated based on the national consumer price index for March 2020. Using the classification proposed by Aguilera and Castro, the states of the country are divided into those that have high, medium or low exposure to trade openness, through their productive specialization and their export and import capacity based on estimating location and export coefficients, calculated with GDP data at 2003 prices for the period 2005-2011. In the empirical analysis, the wage decomposition methodology proposed by Juhn-Murphy-Pierce (1991, 1993) is used, which allows identifying what part of the wage gap is due to differences in observable characteristics between workers in regions of average and low with respect to the high exposure to trade openness, as well as the part related to differences in returns associated with said characteristics. The results indicate that wage inequality in 2005, 2009 and 2020 is positive, that is, it is in favor of the region with high exposure to trade openness and the highest proportion of this inequality is due to unexplained characteristics (which may be due to personal factors, social and economic structure). These results are in line with other studies, in which it is mentioned that there is a heterogeneous impact of the economic crisis on inequality between regions, which in turn is conditioned by the strong integration of their economy with foreign trade. When the changes that have occurred over time are analyzed, it can be seen that the economic disturbances of 2009 implied relevant changes in the behavior of the wage gap between regions, affecting the region with high exposure. The results of this research suggest that the region most exposed to trade liberalization has been more affected by the economic crisis of 2008, showing a reduction in the wages of employed persons has led to a decrease in inequality between regions, with wages that have not increased in real terms over time, although a slight increase in working hours is observed. One possible explanation is the loss of employment registered by the manufacturing sector, which mainly affects the region most exposed to openness and also the increase in workers with more education, given that, by increasing the skilled labor supply, they produce a reduction in the wages, given the lack of demand, mainly in times of crisis. Wage inequality has been a subject of analysis since classical economists, although it lost its importance in the face of other political, economic and social phenomena. In more recent times, it has returned to the economic science debate, due to the concern that the increase in inequality has presented in different countries of the world. The present work provides interesting results in terms of regional analysis. Firstly, it observes that when inequality between the region with high exposure is compared to the one with medium and low exposure to trade openness it is found that the wage gap has been reduced from 2005 to 2009 and increased in 2009 to 2020. With that it can be concluded that the economic disturbances of 2008 implied relevant changes in the behavior of the wage gap, mainly affecting workers in the region most exposed to trade liberalization. This proves the hypothesis proposed in this work, since the analysis for the three different moments in time, including 2009 (a year marked by the presence of an economic recession) leads to establish that the performance of the wage gap at the regional level, seems to show a downward trend, characterized by a relative drop in real hourly wages during the crisis, although in later years an increase in employment is observed in the most exposed region, which implies an increase in wage inequality, given the economic recovery and production focused on international trade. With the above, it can be deduced that supporting the regional economy in the different branches of the economy without solidly promoting the internal market, innovation, production and implementation of national models, does not improve the salary and occupational conditions of workers. Therefore, the results obtained in this research show that the Mexican economy, especially in the region most exposed to openness, is vulnerable to the economic crisis. Hence, the decisions made by the government in terms of public policy, and its relationship with the external market, are important, since most of the economy is subject to foreign trade, mainly with the United States.

© Revista de estudios regionales 2014 Universidades Públicas de Andalucía