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Pareto Improving Minimum Wage Laws


  • Lang, Kevin


By increasing the expected wage in low skill jobs, a minimum wage law can reduce the incentive for low skill workers to imitate high skill workers in the signaling process. The gain from reduced investment in the signal can more than offset the loss from unemployment among low skill workers so that total output increases. Moreover, with an appropriate poll tax on workers to compensate owners of capital, the law can make all workers and owners of capital better off. Copyright 1987 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Lang, Kevin, 1987. "Pareto Improving Minimum Wage Laws," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(1), pages 145-158, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:25:y:1987:i:1:p:145-58

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Davies, James B, 1981. "Uncertain Lifetime, Consumption, and Dissaving in Retirement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(3), pages 561-577, June.
    2. Menchik, Paul L, 1979. "Inter-generational Transmission of Inequality: An Empirical Study of Wealth Mobility," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 46(184), pages 349-362, November.
    3. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 706-732, August.
    4. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-1284, December.
    5. Nagatani, Keizo, 1972. "Life Cycle Saving: Theory and Fact," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(3), pages 344-353, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Neumark, David & Wascher, William, 2001. "Minimum Wages and Training Revisited," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(3), pages 563-595, July.
    2. Fleck, Robert K., 2014. "Can prohibitions on “price gouging” reduce deadweight losses?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 100-107.
    3. Lee, David & Saez, Emmanuel, 2012. "Optimal minimum wage policy in competitive labor markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 739-749.
    4. Innes, Robert, 1987. "Asymmetric Information And The Entrepreneurial Firm: Capital Structure, Investment And Government Intervention," Working Papers 225813, University of California, Davis, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
    5. Eguchi, Kyota, 2004. "Minimum wages enhancing trainers' incentives," ISER Working Paper Series 2004-18, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    6. Deltas, George, 2007. "Can a minimum wage increase employment and reduce prices in a neoclassical perfect information economy?," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(6), pages 657-674, August.
    7. Lang, Kevin, 1994. "Does the Human-Capital/Educational-Sorting Debate Matter for Development Policy?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 353-358, March.
    8. Tomer Blumkin & Leif Danziger, 2014. "Deserving Poor and the Desirability of Minimum Wage Rules," CESifo Working Paper Series 4721, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Robin Boadway & Nicolas Marceau, 1994. "Time inconsistency as a rationale for public unemployment insurance," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 1(2), pages 107-126, October.
    10. Flinn, Christopher, 2003. "Minimum Wage Effects on Labor Market Outcomes under Search with Bargaining," IZA Discussion Papers 949, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. George Economides & Thomas Moutos, 2014. "Minimum Wages as a Redistributive Device in the Long Run," CESifo Working Paper Series 5052, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Acemoglu, Daron, 2001. "Good Jobs versus Bad Jobs," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 1-21, January.
    13. Cousineau, Jean-Michel, 1991. "L’effet du salaire minimum sur le chômage des jeunes et des femmes au Québec : une réestimation et un réexamen de la question," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 67(2), pages 144-165, juin.
    14. Luciano Fanti & Luca Gori, 2008. "‘Backyard’ technology and regulated wages in a neoclassical OLG growth model," Discussion Papers 2008/74, Dipartimento di Economia e Management (DEM), University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

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