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Minimum Wages and Employment: Reconsidering the Use of a Time Series Approach as an Evaluation Tool

  • Wang‐Sheng Lee
  • Sandy Suardi

The time-series approach used in the minimum wage literature essentially aims to estimate a treatment effect of increasing the minimum wage. In this paper, we employ a novel approach based on aggregate time-series data that allows us to determine if minimum wage changes have significant effects on employment. This involves the use of tests for structural breaks as a device for identifying discontinuities in the data which potentially represent treatment effects. In an application based on Australian data, the tentative conclusion is that the introduction of minimum wage legislation in Australia in 1997 and subsequent minimum wage increases appear not to have had any significant negative employment effects for teenagers.

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Article provided by London School of Economics in its journal British Journal of Industrial Relations.

Volume (Year): 49 (2011)
Issue (Month): Supplement 2 (07)
Pages: s376-s401

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Handle: RePEc:bla:brjirl:v:49:y:2011:i:s2:p:s376-s401
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  1. Cooper, Suzanne & Piehl, Anne Morrison & Braga, Anthony & Kennedy, David, 2001. "Testing for Structural Breaks in the Evaluation of Programs," Working Paper Series rwp01-019, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  2. Ian Watson, 2004. "Minimum Wages and Employment: Comment," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 37(2), pages 166-172, 06.
  3. Hristos Doucouliagos & T. D. Stanley, 2009. "Publication Selection Bias in Minimum-Wage Research? A Meta-Regression Analysis," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 47(2), pages 406-428, 06.
  4. Bruce E. Hansen, 1995. "Approximate Asymptotic P-Values for Structural Change Tests," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 297., Boston College Department of Economics.
  5. Jushan Bai, 1995. "Estimating Multiple Breaks One at a Time," Working papers 95-18, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Harding, Don & Harding, Glenys, 2004. "Minimum wages in Australia: an analysis of the impact on small and medium sized businesses," MPRA Paper 25, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. D. W. K. Andrews, 2003. "End-of-Sample Instability Tests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1661-1694, November.
  8. Eric Zivot & Donald W.K. Andrews, 1990. "Further Evidence on the Great Crash, the Oil Price Shock, and the Unit Root Hypothesis," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 944, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  9. Andrew Leigh, 2005. "Does Raising the Minimum Wage Help the Poor?," CEPR Discussion Papers 501, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  10. Neumark, David & Wascher, William, 2007. "Minimum Wages and Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 2570, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Perron, Pierre, 1989. "The Great Crash, the Oil Price Shock, and the Unit Root Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1361-1401, November.
  12. Fredriksson, Peter & Johansson, Per, 2002. "Program Evaluation and Random Program Starts," Working Paper Series 2003:1, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  13. Andrew Leigh, 2003. "Employment Effects of Minimum Wages: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 36(4), pages 361-373.
  14. Jaehwan Park & Ronald Ratti, 1998. "Stationary data and the effect of the minimum wage on teenage employment," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(4), pages 435-440.
  15. Stephen Bazen & Velayoudom Marimoutou, 2002. "Looking for a Needle in a Haystack? A Re-examination of the Time Series Relationship between Teenage Employment and Minimum Wages in the United States," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 64(s1), pages 699-725, 08.
  16. Andrews, Donald W K, 1993. "Tests for Parameter Instability and Structural Change with Unknown Change Point," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(4), pages 821-56, July.
  17. 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.
  18. Alison J. Wellington, 1991. "Effects of the Minimum Wage on the Employment Status of Youths: An Update," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(1), pages 27-46.
  19. Lechner, Michael, 1999. "Earnings and Employment Effects of Continuous Off-the-Job Training in East Germany after Unification," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 17(1), pages 74-90, January.
  20. Matthew James & Mark Wooden & Peter Dawkins, 2001. "Minimum Wages And The Fallacy Of The Inflated Denominator," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 20(3), pages 59-70, 09.
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