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Did the National Minimum Wage Affect UK Prices?

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  • Jonathan Wadsworth

Abstract

One potential channel through which the effects of the minimum wage could be directed is that firms who employ minimum wage workers could have passed on any higher labour costs resulting from the minimum wage in the form of higher prices. This study looks at the effects of the minimum wage on the prices of UK goods and services by comparing prices of goods produced by industries in which UK minimum wage workers make up a substantial share of total costs with prices of goods and services that make less use of minimum wage labour. Using sectoral-level price data matched to LFS survey data on the share of minimum wage workers in each sector, it is hard to find much evidence of significant price changes in the months that correspond immediately to the uprating of the NMW. However over the longer term, prices in several minimum wage sectors – notably take-away foods, canteen meals, hotel services and domestic services - do appear to have risen significantly faster than prices of non-minimum wage sectors. These effects were particularly significant in the four years immediately after the introduction of the minimum wage.
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Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Wadsworth, 2010. "Did the National Minimum Wage Affect UK Prices?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 31(1), pages 81-120, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:31:y:2010:i:1:p:81-120
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. International Monetary Fund, 2016. "Cross-Country Report on Minimum Wages; Selected Issues," IMF Staff Country Reports 16/151, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Oulton, Nicholas & Rincon-Aznar, Ana, 2009. "Rates of return and alternative measures of capital input: 14 countries and 10 branches, 1971-2005," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28687, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Daniel MacDonald & Eric Nilsson, 2016. "The Effects of Increasing the Minimum Wage on Prices: Analyzing the Incidence of Policy Design and Context," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 16-260, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    4. Sila, Urban, 2009. "Can family-support policies help explain differences in working hours across countries?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28684, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Katalin Bodnár & Ludmila Fadejeva & Stefania Iordache & Liina Malk & Desislava Paskaleva & Jurga Pesliakaite & Nataša Todorovic Jemec & Peter Tóth & Robert Wyszynski, 2017. "How do firms adjust to rises in the minimum wage? Survey evidence from Central and Eastern Europe," Working and Discussion Papers WP 9/2017, Research Department, National Bank of Slovakia.
    6. 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.
    7. Thomas Werner & Friedrich L. Sell, 2015. "Price Effects of the Minimum Wage: A Survey Data Analysis for the German Construction Sector," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 29(3), pages 310-326, September.
    8. Riley, Rebecca & Rosazza Bondibene, Chiara, 2017. "Raising the standard: Minimum wages and firm productivity," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 27-50.
    9. Rebecca Riley & Chiara Rosazza-Bondibene, 2015. "Raising the Standard: Minimum Wages and Firm Productivity," National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) Discussion Papers 449, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

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