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Minimum Wages and Household Poverty: General Equilibrium Macro–Micro Simulations for South Africa

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  • Pauw, Karl
  • Leibbrandt, Murray

Abstract

The poverty-reducing effects of minimum wages depend on its effectiveness in targeting the poor and the extent to which job losses and price increases offset income gains. We develop a general equilibrium microsimulation model to simulate the economywide effects of minimum wages in South Africa. We find minimum wages lead to a marginal decline in poverty and overall inequality. However, job losses are more likely to affect the poorest among minimum wage workers, while rising production costs reduce overall household welfare. The policy is not an effective anti-poverty tool in South Africa given poor targeting and adverse price effects, which are often unaccounted for in policy simulations.

Suggested Citation

  • Pauw, Karl & Leibbrandt, Murray, 2012. "Minimum Wages and Household Poverty: General Equilibrium Macro–Micro Simulations for South Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 771-783.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:40:y:2012:i:4:p:771-783 DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2011.09.003
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    Cited by:

    1. Hans Lofgren & Martin Cicowiez, 2017. "A Proximity-Based Approach to Labor Mobility in CGE Models with an Application to Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Global Economic Analysis, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, vol. 2(1), pages 120-165, June.
    2. Arden Finn, 2015. "A National Minimum Wage in the Context of the South African Labour Market," SALDRU Working Papers 153, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    3. van Ruijven, Bas J. & O’Neill, Brian C. & Chateau, Jean, 2015. "Methods for including income distribution in global CGE models for long-term climate change research," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 530-543.
    4. Haroon Bhorat & Tara Caetano & Benjamin Jourdan & Ravi Kanbur & Christopher Rooney & Benjamin Stanwix & Ingrid Woolard, 2016. "Investigating the Feasibility of a National Minimum Wage for South Africa," Working Papers 201601, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    5. Sergey Kapelyuk, 2015. "The effect of minimum wage on poverty," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 23(2), pages 389-423, April.
    6. Kapelyuk Sergey, 2014. "Impact of minimum wage on income distribution and poverty in Russia," EERC Working Paper Series 14/03e, EERC Research Network, Russia and CIS.

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