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The Impact of the Regulation of Low Wages on Inequality and Labour-Market Adjustment: A Comparative Analysis

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  • Bazen, Stephen

Abstract

In all continental European countries there exist non-market mechanisms that determine or "regulate" wage rates for the low-paid. We consider the experience of three countries that have national minimum wages France, Belgium, and the Netherlands--and three where low wage rates are determined through widespread collective bargaining--Germany, Italy, and Denmark. We find that overall there is less inequality (both wage and income) and less poverty than in the United Kingdom and the United States, where low wages are less regulated. Furthermore, patterns of labour-market adjustment--employment, unemployment, and gross job flows--vary greatly, suggesting that there is no one-to-one mapping between the presence of mechanisms to regulate low wages and labour-market performance. Furthermore, wage shares have been falling since the early 1980s. It is therefore difficult to attribute high and persistent rates of unemployment found in certain countries to the existence of mechanisms to "regulate" low wages. Copyright 2000 by Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Review of Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 16 (2000)
Issue (Month): 1 (Spring)
Pages: 57-69

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:16:y:2000:i:1:p:57-69

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Web page: http://oxrep.oupjournals.org/

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Cited by:
  1. Nguyen Viet Cuong, 2014. "Do Minimum Wages Affect Firms’ Labor and Capital? Evidence from Vietnam," Working Papers 2014-179, Department of Research, Ipag Business School.
  2. David Neumark & William Wascher, 2006. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Review of Evidence from the New Minimum Wage Research," NBER Working Papers 12663, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jellal, Mohamed, 2012. "Maroc salaire minimum emploi et pauvreté
    [Morocco minimum wage employment and poverty]
    ," MPRA Paper 38491, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Rubery, Jill, 2003. "Pay equity, minimum wage and equality at work," ILO Working Papers 366872, International Labour Organization.
  5. Kenworthy, Lane, 2002. "Do affluent countries face an income-jobs tradeoff?," MPIfG Discussion Paper 01/10, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
  6. Nguyen Viet, Cuong, 2010. "The Impact of a Minimum Wage Increase on Employment, Wages and Expenditures of Low-Wage Workers in Vietnam," MPRA Paper 36751, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 15 Aug 2011.
  7. Skedinger, Per, 2007. "The Design and Effects of Collectively Agreed Minimum Wages: Evidence from Sweden," Working Paper Series 700, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.

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