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Productivity, non-compliance and the minimum wage

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  • Badaoui, Eliane
  • Walsh, Frank

Abstract

Many informal firms in developing countries would not be viable if they were to comply with the minimum wage law. This means the authorities have an incentive to turn a blind eye to non-enforcement in a substantial share of firms. We also survey enforcement mechanisms for the minimum wage across developing countries and find that worker complaints are an important element in determining whether firms will be inspected for non-compliance or not. We develop a theoretical monopsony model which rationalises the stylised facts we observe. For a given minimum wage, the government can choose a level of enforcement and penalties for non-compliance such that employment will not fall for any optimising firm, irrespective of their productivity. Low productivity firm’s optimal choice of employment and wage will be unaffected by the introduction of the minimum wage. High productivity firms comply so that wage and employment effects are non-negative for these firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Badaoui, Eliane & Walsh, Frank, 2022. "Productivity, non-compliance and the minimum wage," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 155(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:155:y:2022:i:c:s0304387821001383
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2021.102778
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    Cited by:

    1. Wang, Maolin & Lin, Huiting & Huang, Yehua & Lu, Huiyan, 2023. "Poverty alleviation and firm productivity: Evidence from China's minimum wage system," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 87(C).
    2. Laszlo Goerke & Markus Pannenberg, 2023. "Minimum Wage Non-compliance: The Role of Co-determination," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1199, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    3. Gindling, T. H. & Ronconi, Lucas, 2023. "Minimum Wage Policy and Inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 12931, Inter-American Development Bank.
    4. Eliane El Badaoui & Olivier Bargain & Prudence Magejo & Eric Strobl & Frank Walsh, 2023. "A Search Model with Self-Employment and Heterogeneity in Managerial Ability," Working Papers hal-04159859, HAL.
    5. Clemens, Jeffrey & Strain, Michael R., 2022. "Understanding “Wage Theft”: Evasion and avoidance responses to minimum wage increases," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).
    6. Clemens, Jeffrey & Strain, Michael R., 2023. "Does Wage Theft Vary by Demographic Group? Evidence from Minimum Wage Increases," IZA Discussion Papers 16550, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Bassier, Ihsaan, 2022. "Collective bargaining and spillovers in local labor markets," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 118057, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    8. Ihsaan Bassier, 2022. "Collective bargaining and spillovers in local labor markets," CEP Discussion Papers dp1895, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Minimum wage; Productivity; Non-compliance; Informal sector; Firms;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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