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The Effect of the Minimum Wage on the Fast Food Industry

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Author Info

  • Katz, L.F.
  • Krueger, A.B.

Abstract

Using data from a longitudinal survey of fast food restaurants in Texas, the authors examine the impact of recent changes in the federal minimum wage on a low-wage labor market The authors draw four main conclusions. First, the survey results indicate that less than 5 percent of fast food restaurants use the new youth subminimum wage even though the vast majority paid a starting wage below the new hourly minimum wage immediately before the new minimum went into effect. Second, although some restaurants increased wages by an amount exceeding that necessary to comply with higher minimum wages in both 1990 and 1991, recent increases in the federal minimum wage have greatly compressed the distribution of starting wages in the Texas fast food industry. Third, employment increased relatively in those firms likely to have been most affected by the 1991 minimum wage increase. Fourth, changes in the prices of meals appear to be unrelated to mandated wage changes. These employment and price changes do not seem consistent with conventional views of the effects of increases in a binding minimum wage.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 1584.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 1992
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:1584

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Keywords: wages ; labour market ; employment ; policy making;

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References

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  1. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1990. "The Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 255-83, May.
  2. Richard B. Freeman & Wayne B. Gray & Casey Ichniowski, 1981. "Low-Cost Student Labor: The Use and Effects of the Subminimum Wage Provisions for Full-time Students," NBER Working Papers 0765, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. David Card, 1992. "Using regional variation in wages to measure the effects of the federal minimum wage," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 22-37, October.
  4. Charles Brown & Curtis Gilroy & Andrew Kohen, 1983. "Time-Series Evidence of the Effect of the Minimum Wage on Youth Employment and Unemployment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(1), pages 3-31.
  5. Daniel Sullivan, 1989. "Monopsony Power in the Market for Nurses," NBER Working Papers 3031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Krueger, Alan B, 1991. "Ownership, Agency, and Wages: An Examination of Franchising in the Fast Food Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 75-101, February.
  7. repec:fth:prinin:300 is not listed on IDEAS
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  1. Economic fundamentalism and the minimum wage
    by kathy in Crooked Timber on 2008-05-11 18:19:01
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