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Minimum Wage Policy and Poverty in the United States

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  • Lonnie Stevans
  • David Sessions

Abstract

Recent studies have found that increasing the minimum wage is a useful antipoverty tool. In this analysis, we examine the influence of minimum wages and other important variables on US family poverty rates using state data over the years 1984-98 by estimating both a fixed effect and random coefficients regression model. Taking into account labor market influences, demographic factors, and differences in poverty rates across states, we find that expanding the minimum wage coverage and increasing labor force participation both have larger effects on poverty rates as compared to equivalent changes in the level of the minimum wage. It is further implied from the empirical results that the most effective means of lifting families out of poverty are policies that are directed toward increasing minimum wage coverage, encouraging increased labor force participation, raising the minimum wage, and subsidizing higher education, respectively.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal International Review of Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 15 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 65-75

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Handle: RePEc:taf:irapec:v:15:y:2001:i:1:p:65-75

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  1. David Card, 1992. "Using Regional Variation in Wages to Measure the Effects of the Federal Minimum Wage," NBER Working Papers 4058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. William E. Even & David A. Macpherson, 1996. "Consequences Of Minimum Wage Indexing," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(4), pages 67-77, October.
  3. John T. Addison & McKinley L. Blackburn, 1999. "Minimum wages and poverty," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(3), pages 393-409, April.
  4. David Card & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1994. "Comment on "Employment effects of minimum and subminimum wages: Panel data on state minimum wage laws," by David Neumark and William Wascher (46:1, Oct. 1992, p. 55)," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(3), pages 487-512, April.
  5. Freeman, Richard B, 1996. "The Minimum Wage as a Redistributive Tool," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(436), pages 639-49, May.
  6. repec:fth:prinin:300 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Timothy J. Bartik, . "The Distributional Effects of Local Labor Demand and Industrial Mix: Estimates Using Individual Panel Data," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles tjb1996, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  8. Johnson, William R & Browning, Edgar K, 1983. "The Distributional and Efficiency Effects of Increasing the Minimum Wage: A Simulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 204-11, March.
  9. Brown, Charles & Gilroy, Curtis & Kohen, Andrew, 1982. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on Employment and Unemployment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 487-528, June.
  10. Richard Dickens & Stephen Machin & Alan Manning, 1994. "The Effects of Minimum Wages on Employment: Theory and Evidence from Britain," CEP Discussion Papers dp0183, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  11. List, John A & Gallet, Craig A, 1999. "The Kuznets Curve: What Happens after the Inverted-U?," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 200-206, June.
  12. Edward M. Gramlich, 1976. "Impact of Minimum Wages on Other Wages, Employment, and Family Incomes," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 7(2), pages 409-462.
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