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Did the National Minimum Wage Affect UK Prices?

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  • Jonathan Wadsworth

Abstract

One potential channel through which the effects of the minimum wage could be directed is that firms who employ minimum wage workers could have passed on any higher labour costs resulting from the minimum wage in the form of higher prices. This study looks at the effects of the minimum wage on the prices of UK goods and services by comparing prices of goods produced by industries in which UK minimum wage workers make up a substantial share of total costs with prices of goods and services that make less use of minimum wage labour. Using sectoral-level price data matched to LFS survey data on the share of minimum wage workers in each sector, it is hard to find much evidence of significant price changes in the months that correspond immediately to the uprating of the NMW. However over the longer term, prices in several minimum wage sectors - notably take-away foods, canteen meals, hotel services and domestic services - do appear to have risen significantly faster than prices of non-minimum wage sectors. These effects were particularly significant in the four years immediately after the introduction of the minimum wage.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0947.

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Date of creation: Aug 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0947

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Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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Keywords: Minimum wage; prices;

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Cited by:
  1. Nicholas Oulton & Ana Rincon-Aznar, 2009. "Rates of return and alternative measures of capital input: 14 countries and 10 branches, 1971-2005," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28687, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Urban Sila, 2009. "Can family-support policies help explain differences in working hours across countries?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28684, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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