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Youth Minimum Wage Reform and the Labour Market

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Author Info

  • Dean Hyslop
  • Steven Stillman

    ()
    (New Zealand Treasury
    Department of Labour)

Abstract

This paper analyses the effects of a large reform in the minimum wages affecting youth workers in New Zealand since 2001. Prior to this reform, a youth minimum wage, applying to 16-19 year-olds, was set at 60% of the adult minimum. The reform had two components. First, it lowered the eligible age for the adult minimum wage from 20 to 18 years, and resulted in a 69 percent increase in the minimum wage for 18 and 19 year- olds. Second, the reform raised the youth minimum wage in two annual steps from 60% to 80% of the adult minimum, and resulted in a 41 percent increase in the minimum wage for 16 and 17 year-olds over a two-year period. We use data from the New Zealand Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) to estimate the impact of these changes on a variety of labour market and related outcomes. We compare the average outcomes of these two groups of teenagers, before and after the policy reform, to those of 20-25 year- olds, who were unaffected by the reform. We find no robust evidence of adverse effects on youth employment or hours worked. In fact, we find stronger evidence of positive employment responses to the changes for both groups of teenagers, and that 16-17 year-olds increased their hours worked by 10-15 percent following the minimum wage changes. Given the absence of any adverse employment effects, we find significant increases in labour earnings and total income of teenagers relative to young adults. However, we do find some evidence of a decline in educational enrolment, and an increase in unemployment and inactivity, although these results depend on the specification adopted.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by New Zealand Treasury in its series Treasury Working Paper Series with number 04/03.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nzt:nztwps:04/03

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Keywords: Minimum wage; New Zealand; natural experiment; difference-in-differences;

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References

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  1. Janet Currie & Bruce C. Fallick, 1996. "The Minimum Wage and the Employment of Youth Evidence from the NLSY," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(2), pages 404-428.
  2. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1993. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," Working Papers 694, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. Alan B. Krueger & David Card, 2000. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1397-1420, December.
  4. Pedro Portugal & Ana Rute Cardoso, 2006. "Disentangling the Minimum Wage Puzzle: An Analysis of Worker Accessions and Separations," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(5), pages 988-1013, 09.
  5. 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.
  6. William Wascher & David Neumark, 2000. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1362-1396, December.
  7. Neumark, David & Wascher, William, 1995. "Minimum Wage Effects on Employment and School Enrollment," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(2), pages 199-206, April.
  8. 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.
  9. Philippe Van Kerm, 2003. "Adaptive kernel density estimation," United Kingdom Stata Users' Group Meetings 2003 15, Stata Users Group.
  10. Burkhauser, Richard V & Couch, Kenneth A & Wittenburg, David C, 2000. "A Reassessment of the New Economics of the Minimum Wage Literature with Monthly Data from the Current Population Survey," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(4), pages 653-80, October.
  11. Brown, Charles & Gilroy, Curtis & Kohen, Andrew, 1982. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on Employment and Unemployment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 487-528, June.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Patricia Rice, 2010. "Minimum Wages and Schooling: Evidence from the UK's Introduction of a National Minimum Wage," Economics Series Working Papers 482, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Lim, Lin Lean, 2011. "Building an Asia-Pacific youth employment coalition : reviewing past policies and the way forward," ILO Working Papers 467687, International Labour Organization.
  3. David Neumark & William Wascher, 2006. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Review of Evidence from the New Minimum Wage Research," Working Papers 060708, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2007.
  4. Rice, Patricia, 2006. "Wages and the education and employment choices of young people: empirical analysis for Great Britain," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 0612, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  5. Jellal, Mohamed, 2012. "Maroc salaire minimum emploi et pauvreté
    [Morocco minimum wage employment and poverty]
    ," MPRA Paper 38491, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Tim Maloney & Gail Pacheco, 2012. "Assessing the Possible Antipoverty Effects of Recent Rises in Age-Specific Minimum Wages in New Zealand," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 58(4), pages 648-674, December.

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