IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aejapp/v8y2016i1p58-99.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Contribution of the Minimum Wage to US Wage Inequality over Three Decades: A Reassessment

Author

Listed:
  • David H. Autor
  • Alan Manning
  • Christopher L. Smith

Abstract

We reassess the effect of minimum wages on US earnings inequality using additional decades of data and an IV strategy that addresses potential biases in prior work. We find that the minimum wage reduces inequality in the lower tail of the wage distribution, though by substantially less than previous estimates, suggesting that rising lower tail inequality after 1980 primarily reflects underlying wage structure changes rather than an unmasking of latent inequality. These wage effects extend to percentiles where the minimum is nominally nonbinding, implying spillovers. We are unable to reject that these spillovers are due to reporting artifacts, however. (JEL J22, J31, J38, K31)

Suggested Citation

  • David H. Autor & Alan Manning & Christopher L. Smith, 2016. "The Contribution of the Minimum Wage to US Wage Inequality over Three Decades: A Reassessment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 58-99, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:8:y:2016:i:1:p:58-99
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.20140073
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/app.20140073
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/app/data/0801/2014-0073_data.zip
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/app/ds/0801/2014-0073_ds.zip
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/app/app/0801/2014-0073_app.pdf
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Arindrajit Dube & Laura Giuliano & Jonathan Leonard, 2019. "Fairness and Frictions: The Impact of Unequal Raises on Quit Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(2), pages 620-663, February.
    2. Teulings, Coen N, 2000. "Aggregation Bias in Elasticities of Substitution and the Minimum Wage Paradox," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(2), pages 359-398, May.
    3. Thomas Lemieux, 2008. "The changing nature of wage inequality," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(1), pages 21-48, January.
    4. Congressional Budget Office, 2014. "The Effects of a Minimum-Wage Increase on Employment and Family Income," Reports 44995, Congressional Budget Office.
    5. DiNardo, John & Fortin, Nicole M & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1001-1044, September.
    6. Sylvia A. Allegretto & Arindrajit Dube & Michael Reich, 2011. "Do Minimum Wages Really Reduce Teen Employment? Accounting for Heterogeneity and Selectivity in State Panel Data," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 205-240, April.
    7. David Neumark & JM Salas & William Wascher, 2014. "More on recent evidence on the effects of minimum wages in the United States," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-26, December.
    8. Stock, James H & Wright, Jonathan H & Yogo, Motohiro, 2002. "A Survey of Weak Instruments and Weak Identification in Generalized Method of Moments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 518-529, October.
    9. Congressional Budget Office, 2014. "The Effects of a Minimum-Wage Increase on Employment and Family Income," Reports 44995, Congressional Budget Office.
    10. Congressional Budget Office, 2014. "The Effects of a Minimum-Wage Increase on Employment and Family Income," Reports 44995, Congressional Budget Office.
    11. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2002. "Skill-Biased Technological Change and Rising Wage Inequality: Some Problems and Puzzles," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 733-783, October.
    12. Congressional Budget Office, 2014. "The Effects of a Minimum-Wage Increase on Employment and Family Income," Reports 44995, Congressional Budget Office.
    13. David Card & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1993. "An Evaluation of Recent Evidence on the Employment Effects of Minimum and Subminimum Wages," NBER Working Papers 4528, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Coen N. Teulings, 2003. "The contribution of minimum wages to increasing wage inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(490), pages 801-833, October.
    15. Acemoglu, Daron & Autor, David, 2011. "Skills, Tasks and Technologies: Implications for Employment and Earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 12, pages 1043-1171, Elsevier.
    16. Victor Chernozhukov & Christian Hansen, 2005. "An IV Model of Quantile Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(1), pages 245-261, January.
    17. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555, Elsevier.
    18. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. David Neumark, 2016. "Policy levers to increase jobs and increase income from work after the Great Recession," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-38, December.
    2. Bosch, Gerhard & Weinkopf, Claudia, 2014. "Zur Einführung des gesetzlichen Mindestlohns von 8,50 € in Deutschland," Arbeitspapiere 304, Hans-Böckler-Stiftung, Düsseldorf.
    3. Salverda, Wiemer & Checchi, Daniele, 2014. "Labour-Market Institutions and the Dispersion of Wage Earnings," IZA Discussion Papers 8220, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Peter Harasztosi & Attila Lindner, 2019. "Who Pays for the Minimum Wage?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(8), pages 2693-2727, August.
    5. Elizabeth Weber Handwerker & James R. Spletzer, 2016. "The Role of Establishments and the Concentration of Occupations in Wage Inequality," Research in Labor Economics, in: Lorenzo Cappellari & Solomon W. Polachek & Konstantinos Tatsiramos (ed.), Inequality: Causes and Consequences, volume 43, pages 167-193, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    6. Lordan, Grace & Neumark, David, 2018. "People versus machines: The impact of minimum wages on automatable jobs," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 40-53.
    7. Dirk Antonczyk & Thomas DeLeire & Bernd Fitzenberger, 2018. "Polarization and Rising Wage Inequality: Comparing the U.S. and Germany," Econometrics, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(2), pages 1-33, April.
    8. Tingting Zhang & Morley Gunderson, 2020. "Impact of Occupational Licensing on Wages and Wage Inequality: Canadian Evidence 1998–2018," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 41(4), pages 338-351, December.
    9. Nazila Alinaghi & John Creedy & Norman Gemmell, 2020. "The Redistributive Effects of a Minimum Wage Increase in New Zealand: A Microsimulation Analysis," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 53(4), pages 517-538, December.
    10. Kevin Rinz & John Voorheis, 2018. "The Distributional Effects of Minimum Wages: Evidence from Linked Survey and Administrative Data," CARRA Working Papers 2018-02, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    11. Slonimczyk, Fabián & Skott, Peter, 2012. "Employment and distribution effects of the minimum wage," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 245-264.
    12. Burkhauser, Richard V., 2014. "Why Minimum Wage Increases Are a Poor Way to Help the Working Poor," IZA Policy Papers 86, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Oren M. Levin-Waldman, 2015. "Why the Minimum Wage Orthodoxy Reigns Supreme," Challenge, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 58(1), pages 29-50, January.
    14. Richard G. Anderson & Areerat Kichkha, 2017. "Replication, Meta-analysis, and Research Synthesis in Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 56-59, May.
    15. Robayo,Monica & Terskaya,Anastasia & Koettl-Brodmann,Stefanie, 2020. "Ex-ante Evaluation of the Impact of Increases in Minimum Wages on Labor Market Outcomes in Kosovo," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9357, The World Bank.
    16. Alan Manning, 2021. "The Elusive Employment Effect of the Minimum Wage," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 3-26, Winter.
    17. Alexandros Karakitsios & Manos Matsaganis, 2018. "Minimum Wage Effects on Poverty and Inequality," DEOS Working Papers 1801, Athens University of Economics and Business.
    18. Yuci Chen, 2019. "What Do Establishments Do When Wages Increase? Evidence from Minimum Wages in the United States," Working Papers 19-31, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    19. Zsófia L. Bárány, 2016. "The Minimum Wage and Inequality: The Effects of Education and Technology," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(1), pages 237-274.
    20. Dögüs, Ilhan, 2017. "Rising wage dispersion between white-collar and blue-collar workers and market concentration: The case of the USA, 1966-2011," Discussion Papers 62, University of Hamburg, Centre for Economic and Sociological Studies (CESS/ZÖSS).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • 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
    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:8:y:2016:i:1:p:58-99. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.