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Minimum Wages and Youth Employment: Evidence from the Finnish Retail Trade Sector


  • Petri Böckerman
  • Roope Uusitalo


Following an agreement between the trade unions and the employer organizations in 1993, Finnish employers could temporarily pay less than the existing minimum wage for young workers. We examine the effects of these minimum wage exceptions by comparing the changes in wages and employment of the groups whose minimum wages were reduced with simultaneous changes among slightly older workers for whom the minimum wages remained unchanged. Our analysis is based on payroll record data and minimum wage agreements from the retail trade sector. The results show that average wages in the eligible group declined only modestly. We find no significant effects on employment. Copyright (c) Blackwell Publishing Ltd/London School of Economics 2009.

Suggested Citation

  • Petri Böckerman & Roope Uusitalo, 2009. "Minimum Wages and Youth Employment: Evidence from the Finnish Retail Trade Sector," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 47(2), pages 388-405, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:brjirl:v:47:y:2009:i:2:p:388-405

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & Thomas Lemieux & David N. Margolis, 2000. "Minimum Wages and Youth Employment in France and the United States," NBER Chapters,in: Youth Employment and Joblessness in Advanced Countries, pages 427-472 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1992. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on the Fast-Food Industry," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 6-21, October.
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    7. David Neumark & William Wascher, 2006. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Review of Evidence from the New Minimum Wage Research," NBER Working Papers 12663, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Skedinger, Per, 2006. "Minimum wages and employment in Swedish hotels and restaurants," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 259-290, April.
    9. Seppo Honkapohja & Erkki Koskela, 1999. "The economic crisis of the 1990s in Finland," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 14(29), pages 399-436, October.
    10. Per Skedinger, 2010. "Sweden: A Minimum Wage Model in Need of Modification," Chapters,in: The Minimum Wage Revisited in the Enlarged EU, chapter 12 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    11. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 2000. "Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(467), pages 672-694, November.
    12. 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, September.
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    15. Hyslop, Dean & Stillman, Steven, 2007. "Youth minimum wage reform and the labour market in New Zealand," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 201-230, April.
    16. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Christian Zehnder, "undated". "The Behavioral Effects of Minimum Wages," IEW - Working Papers 247, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
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    Cited by:

    1. Skedinger, Per, 2011. "Effects of Increasing Minimum Wages on Employment and Hours: Evidence from Sweden’s Retail Sector," Working Paper Series 869, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    2. Thomas Turner & Michelle O’Sullivan, 2013. "Economic Crisis and the Restructuring of Wage Setting Mechanisms for Vulnerable Workers in Ireland," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 44(2), pages 197-219.
    3. Per Skedinger, 2010. "Sweden: A Minimum Wage Model in Need of Modification," Chapters,in: The Minimum Wage Revisited in the Enlarged EU, chapter 12 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Petri Böckerman & Seppo Laaksonen & Jari Vainiomäki, 2010. "Micro and Macro Level Wage Rigidity: Lessons from Finland," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 23(1), pages 27-42, Spring.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects


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