Anita Alves Pena


Poverty, Legal Status, and Pay Basis in U.S. Agriculture
In the United States farmworkers are paid on either a per-piece or hourly basis. This project studied the relationship between wage contract structures, the legal status of the workers, and how the received earnings of agricultural workers compare to the minimum wage in the nonagricultural sector nationally and in the local labor markets of the western United States. The project considered how minimum wages can be used to decrease income variance among piece rate workers and minimize poverty among farmworkers without adversely affecting agricultural employment levels or food prices. Professor Alves Pena modeled the relationship between citizenship status and form of payment among immigrant agricultural workers, and demonstrated lower incomes and higher poverty rates among noncitizen immigrants who were more likely to have “piecerate pay” rather than hourly wages. This study has contributed to the understanding of the informal relationship between the minimum wage system in the United States, illegal and legal immigration, and the wage structures of the working poor in the agricultural sector.

WCPC Seminar Series Presentation:

Poverty, Legal Status, and Pay Basis in US Agriculture. Presented by Anita Alves Pena.

WCPC Poverty Research Flash:

Poverty, Legal Status, and Pay Basis in US Agriculture.By Anita Alves Pena.