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Turning a Blind Eye: Costly Enforcement, Credible Commitment and Minimum Wage Laws

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  • ArnabK. Basu
  • NancyH. Chau
  • Ravi Kanbur

Abstract

In many countries, non-compliance with minimum wage legislation is widespread and authorities may be seen as having turned a blind eye to legislation they have themselves passed. We show that turning a blind eye can indeed be an equilibrium phenomenon with "ex post" credibility, in a model of minimum wage policy with imperfect competition, imperfect enforcement and imperfect commitment. Since credible enforcement requires costly "ex post" transfer of income from employers to workers, a government concerned only with efficiency but not with distribution is shown, paradoxically, to be unable to credibly elicit efficiency improvements via a minimum wage reform. Copyright © The Author(s). Journal compilation © Royal Economic Society 2009.

Suggested Citation

  • ArnabK. Basu & NancyH. Chau & Ravi Kanbur, 2010. "Turning a Blind Eye: Costly Enforcement, Credible Commitment and Minimum Wage Laws," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(543), pages 244-269, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:120:y:2010:i:543:p:244-269
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Basu, Arnab K. & Chau, Nancy H. & Kanbur, Ravi, 2009. "A theory of employment guarantees: Contestability, credibility and distributional concerns," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3-4), pages 482-497, April.
    2. Dinkelman, Taryn & Ranchhod, Vimal, 2012. "Evidence on the impact of minimum wage laws in an informal sector: Domestic workers in South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 27-45.
    3. Basu, Arnab K. & Chau, Nancy & Siddique, Zahra, 2011. "Tax Evasion, Minimum Wage Non-Compliance and Informality," IZA Discussion Papers 6228, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Baumann, Florian & Friehe, Tim, 2012. "On the evasion of employment protection legislation," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 9-17.
    5. Danziger, Leif, 2010. "Endogenous monopsony and the perverse effect of the minimum wage in small firms," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 224-229, January.
    6. repec:eee:reveco:v:49:y:2017:i:c:p:582-595 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Bali, Namrata & Chen, Martha Alter & Kanbur, Ravi, 2012. "THE CORNELL-SEWA-WIEGO Exposure and Dialogue Programme: An Overview of the Process and Main Outcomes," Working Papers 128865, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
    8. Ronconi, Lucas & Zarazaga S.J., Rodrigo, 2015. "Labor Exclusion and the Erosion of Citizenship Responsibilities," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 453-461.
    9. repec:eee:wdevel:v:102:y:2018:i:c:p:135-157 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy

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