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Minimum Wages and Firm Profitability

Author

Listed:
  • Mirko Draca
  • Stephen Machin
  • John Van Reenen

Abstract

We study the impact of minimum wages on firm profitability, exploiting the changes induced by the introduction of a UK national minimum wage in 1999. We use pre-policy information on the distribution of wages to implement a difference-in-differences approach. Minimum wages raise wages, but also significantly reduce profitability (especially in industries with relatively high market power). This is consistent with a simple model where wage gains from minimum wages map directly into profit reductions. There is some suggestive evidence of longer run adjustment to the minimum wage through falls in net entry rates. (JEL J31, J38, L25)

Suggested Citation

  • Mirko Draca & Stephen Machin & John Van Reenen, 2011. "Minimum Wages and Firm Profitability," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 129-151, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:3:y:2011:i:1:p:129-51
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.3.1.129
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance

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