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Optimal Minimum Wage in a Competitive Economy: an Alternative Modelling Approach

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  • Gorostiaga Alonso, Miren Arantzazu
  • Rubio-Ramírez, Juan F.

Abstract

This paper analyzes whether a minimum wage can be an optimal redistribution policy when distorting taxes and lump-sum transfers are also available in a competitive economy. We build a static general equilibrium model with a Ramsey planner making decisions on taxes, transfers, and minimum wage levels. Workers are assumed to differ only in their productivity. We find that optimal redistribution may imply the use of a minimum wage. The key factor driving our results is the reaction of the demand for low skilled labor to the minimum wage law. Hence, an optimal minimum wage appears to be most likely when low skilled households are scarce, the complementarity between the two types of workers is large or the difference in productivity is small. The main contribution of the paper is a modelling approach that allows us to adopt analysis and solution techniques widely used in recent public finance research. Moreover, this modelling strategy is flexible enough to allow for potential extensions to include dynamics into the model.

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Paper provided by University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II in its series DFAEII Working Papers with number 2004-07.

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Date of creation: Oct 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ehu:dfaeii:200407

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Postal: Dpto. de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico II, = Facultad de CC. Económicas y Empresariales, Universidad del País Vasco, Avda. Lehendakari Aguirre 83, 48015 Bilbao, Spain
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Keywords: redistribution policy; minimum wage; Ramsey Problem;

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  1. Bhaskar, V & To, Ted, 1999. "Minimum Wages for Ronald McDonald Monopsonies: A Theory of Monopsonistic Competition," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(455), pages 190-203, April.
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  3. DREZE, Jacques & GOLLIER, Christian, . "Risk sharing on the labour market and second-best wage rigidities," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1073, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  4. Juan J. Dolado & Florentino Felgueroso & Juan F. Jimeno, 2000. "The Role of the Minimum Wage in the Welfare State: An Appraisal," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 136(III), pages 223-245, September.
  5. Martin Uribe & Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe, 2001. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy under sticky prices," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jun.
  6. Mikhail Golosov & Narayana Kocherlakota & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2002. "Optimal Indirect and Capital Taxation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 391749000000000449, David K. Levine.
  7. Arantza Gorostiaga, 2004. "Optimal Fiscal Policy with Rationing in the Labor Market," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2004/10, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
  8. Rebitzer, James B. & Taylor, Lowell J., 1995. "The consequences of minimum wage laws Some new theoretical ideas," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 245-255, February.
  9. Boadway, Robin & Cuff, Katherine, 2001. "A minimum wage can be welfare-improving and employment-enhancing," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 553-576, March.
  10. Askenazy, Philippe, 2003. "Minimum wage, exports and growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 147-164, February.
  11. Cahuc, P. & Michel, P., 1992. "Minimum Wage, Unemployment and Growth," Papiers d'Economie Mathématique et Applications 92.35, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  12. Robert E. Lucas Jr. & Nancy L. Stokey, 1982. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy in an Economy Without Capital," Discussion Papers 532, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  13. Marceau, Nicolas & Boadway, Robin, 1994. " Minimum Wage Legislation and Unemployment Insurance as Instruments for Redistribution," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96(1), pages 67-81.
  14. Swinnerton, Kenneth A, 1996. "Minimum Wages in an Equilibrium Search Model with Diminishing Returns to Labor in Production," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(2), pages 340-55, April.
  15. Arantza Gorostiaga, 2002. "Should Fiscal Policy Be Di.erent in a Non-Competitive Framework?," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2002/11, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
  16. Allen, Stephen P, 1987. "Taxes, Redistribution, and the Minimum Wage: A Theoretical Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 477-89, August.
  17. Dickens, Richard & Machin, Stephen & Manning, Alan, 1999. "The Effects of Minimum Wages on Employment: Theory and Evidence from Britain," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 1-22, January.
  18. Stephen Machin & Alan Manning, 1992. "Minimum Wages," CEP Discussion Papers dp0080, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  19. Chari, V.V. & Kehoe, Patrick J., 1999. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 26, pages 1671-1745 Elsevier.
  20. Lang, Kevin & Kahn, Shulamit, 1998. "The effect of minimum-wage laws on the distribution of employment: theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 67-82, July.
  21. Gorostiaga Alonso, Miren Arantzazu, 1999. "Should Fiscal Policy be different in a Non-Competitive Framework?," DFAEII Working Papers 2002-28, University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II.
  22. Anthony A. Sampson, 2002. "The minimum wage in an adverse selection economy," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(1), pages 150-159, January.
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