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Does the Minimum Wage Cause Inefficient Rationing?

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Author Info

  • Luttmer, Erzo F.P.

    ()
    (Dartmouth College)

Abstract

This paper investigates whether the minimum wage leads to inefficient job rationing. By not allowing wages to clear the labor market, the minimum wage could cause workers with low reservation wages to be rationed out while equally skilled workers with higher reservation wages are employed. This paper exploits the overlapping nature of the CPS panels to more precisely identify those most affected by the minimum wage, a group I refer to as the “unskilled.” I test for inefficient rationing by examining whether the reservation wages of employed unskilled workers in states where the 1990-1991 federal minimum wage increase had the largest impact rose relative to reservation wages of unskilled workers in other states. I find that reservation wages of unskilled workers in high-impact states did not rise relative to reservation wages in other states, indicating that the increase in the minimum wage did not cause jobs to be allocated less efficiently.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2713.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy: Contributions to Economic Analysis and Policy, 2007, 7(1), Article 49
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2713

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Related research

Keywords: rationing; minimum wage; job allocation; misallocation cost; allocative efficiency;

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References

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  1. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1993. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," NBER Working Papers 4509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Suen, Wing, 1989. "Rationing and Rent Dissipation in the Presence of Heterogeneous Individuals," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1384-94, December.
  3. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & Thomas Lemieux & David N. Margolis, 1997. "Minimum Wages and Youth Employment in France and the United States," NBER Working Papers 6111, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. David Neumark & William Wascher, 1993. "Employment effects of minimum and subminimum wages: reply to Card, Katz, and Krueger," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 144, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Jones, Stephen R G, 1989. "Reservation Wages and the Cost of Unemployment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 56(222), pages 225-46, May.
  6. Martin Feldstein & James M. Poterba, 1984. "Unemployment Insurance and Reservation Wages," NBER Working Papers 1011, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
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  9. David Neumark & William Wascher, 1995. "The Effect of New Jersey's Minimum Wage Increase on Fast-Food Employment: A Re-Evaluation Using Payroll Records," NBER Working Papers 5224, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Brown, Charles, 1999. "Minimum wages, employment, and the distribution of income," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 32, pages 2101-2163 Elsevier.
  11. 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.
  12. Palda, Filip, 2000. "Some deadweight losses from the minimum wage: the cases of full and partial compliance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(6), pages 751-783, November.
  13. Abowd, J.M. & Kramarz, F. & Margolis, D.N., 1998. "Minimum Wages and Employment in France and the United States," Papiers du Laboratoire de Microéconomie Appliquée 1998-12, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  14. Katz, L.F. & Krueger, A.B., 1992. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on the Fast Food Industry," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1584, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  15. Brigitte C. Madrian & Lars John Lefgren, 1999. "A Note on Longitudinally Matching Current Population Survey (CPS) Respondents," NBER Technical Working Papers 0247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Neumark, David & Wascher, William, 2007. "Minimum Wages and Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 2570, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. Frech, H E, III & Lee, William C, 1987. "The Welfare Cost of Rationing-by-Queuing across Markets: Theory and Estimates from the U.S. Gasoline Crises," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(1), pages 97-108, February.
  18. Harry J. Holzer, 1986. "Reservation Wages and Their Labor Market Effects for Black and White Male Youth," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(2), pages 157-177.
  19. Holzer, Harry J & Katz, Lawrence F & Krueger, Alan B, 1991. "Job Queues and Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(3), pages 739-68, August.
  20. Davis, Lucas W & Kilian, Lutz, 2007. "The Allocative Cost of Price Ceilings: Lessons to be Learned from the US Residential Market for Natural Gas," CEPR Discussion Papers 6142, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  22. Barzel, Yoram, 1974. "A Theory of Rationing by Waiting," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 73-95, April.
  23. Linneman, Peter, 1982. "The Economic Impacts of Minimum Wage Laws: A New Look at an Old Question," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(3), pages 443-69, June.
  24. Bell, David N.F. & Blanchflower, David G., 2011. "Youth Unemployment in Europe and the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 5673, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  25. Edward L. Glaeser & Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2003. "The Misallocation of Housing Under Rent Control," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1027-1046, September.
  26. Deacon, Robert T & Sonstelie, Jon, 1989. "The Welfare Costs of Rationing by Waiting," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 27(2), pages 179-96, April.
  27. Richard V. Burkhauser & Kenneth A. Couch & David C. Wittenburg, 2000. "Who Minimum Wage Increases Bite: An Analysis Using Monthly Data from the SIPP and the CPS," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 67(1), pages 16-40, July.
  28. David Neumark & William L. Wascher, 2008. "Minimum Wages," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262141027, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. David Lee & Emmanuel Saez, 2008. "Optimal Minimum Wage Policy in Competitive Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 14320, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Paul Klemperer & Jeremy Bulow, 2009. "Price Controls and Consumer Surplus," Economics Series Working Papers 2009-W07, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Lee, David & Saez, Emmanuel, 2012. "Optimal minimum wage policy in competitive labor markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 739-749.
  4. Lucas W. Davis & Lutz Kilian, 2011. "The Allocative Cost of Price Ceilings in the U.S. Residential Market for Natural Gas," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(2), pages 212 - 241.
  5. Tommy Andersson & Zaifu Yang & Dongmo Zhang, 2014. "How to Efficiently Allocate Houses under Price Controls?," Discussion Papers 14/05, Department of Economics, University of York.
  6. Aart Gerritsen & Bas Jacobs, 2014. "Is a Minimum Wage an Appropriate Instrument for Redistribution?," CESifo Working Paper Series 4588, CESifo Group Munich.

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