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The Ambiguous Effect of Minimum Wages on Workers and Total Hours

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  • Strobl, Eric

    ()
    (Ecole Polytechnique, Paris)

  • Walsh, Frank

    ()
    (University College Dublin)

Abstract

We model a competitive labour market where firms choose combinations of workers and hours per worker to produce output. If one assumes that the scale of production has no impact on hours per worker, then the change in the number of workers and hours per worker resulting from a minimum wage are inversely related. We demonstrate that total hours worked at the firm may rise for plausible parameter values if there are small fixed costs to hiring workers. Thus, in contrast to the conventional view, we show that the effect of minimum wages on employment is ambiguous.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3643.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Labour Economics, 2011, 18 (2), 218-228
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3643

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Keywords: hours; minimum wages; employment;

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  1. Neumark, David & Wascher, William, 2007. "Minimum Wages and Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 2570, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Dickens, Richard & Alan Manning, 2003. "The Impact of the National Minimum Wage on the Wage Distribution in a Low-Wage Sector," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 60, Royal Economic Society.
  3. Richard Dickens & Alan Manning, 2004. "Spikes and spill-overs: The impact of the national minimum wage on the wage distribution in a low-wage sector," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(494), pages C95-C101, 03.
  4. Strobl, Eric & Walsh, Frank, 2007. "Dealing with monopsony power: Employment subsidies vs. minimum wages," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 83-89, January.
  5. Daniel B. Klein & Stewart Dompe, 2007. "Reasons for Supporting the Minimum Wage: Asking Signatories of the "Raise the Minimum Wage" Statement," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 4(1), pages 125-167, January.
  6. 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.
  7. Neumark, D. & Schweitzer, M. & Wascher, W., 1999. "The Effect of Minimum Wages Throughout the Wage Distribution," Papers 9919, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
  8. Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999. "Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695 Elsevier.
  9. Sara Connolly & Mary Gregory, 2002. "The National Minimum Wage and Hours of Work: Implications for Low Paid Women," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 64(s1), pages 607-631, 08.
  10. De Fraja, Gianni, 1999. "Minimum Wage Legislation, Productivity and Employment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(264), pages 473-88, November.
  11. 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.
  12. Mark B. Stewart & Joanna K. Swaffield, 2008. "The Other Margin: Do Minimum Wages Cause Working Hours Adjustments for Low-Wage Workers?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(297), pages 148-167, 02.
  13. Kinoshita, Tomio, 1987. "Working Hours and Hedonic Wages in the Market Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(6), pages 1262-77, December.
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