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Do Minimum Wages Fight Poverty?

  • David Neumark

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.)

  • William Wascher

    ()

    (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 20th and Constitution NW, Washington, DC 20551.)

We present evidence on the effects of minimum wages on family incomes. The results indicate that minimum wages increase both the probability that poor families escape poverty and the probability that previously nonpoor families fall into poverty. The estimated increase in the flow into poverty is larger, although this difference is not statistically significant. We also find that minimum wages tend to boost the incomes of poor families that remain below the poverty line. On net, the various trade-offs created by minimum wage increases more closely resemble income redistribution among low-income families than income redistribution from high- to low-income families. Copyright 2002, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.

Volume (Year): 40 (2002)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 315-333

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Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:40:y:2002:i:3:p:315-333
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  1. Edward M. Gramlich, 1976. "Impact of Minimum Wages on Other Wages, Employment, and Family Incomes," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 7(2), pages 409-462.
  2. David Card, 1992. "Using Regional Variation in Wages to Measure the Effects of the Federal Minimum Wage," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 22-37, October.
  3. Hashimoto, Masanori, 1982. "Minimum Wage Effects on Training on the Job," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1070-87, December.
  4. John T. Addison & McKinleyl Blackburn, 1999. "Minimum Wages and Poverty," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(3), pages 393-409, April.
  5. Jean Baldwin Grossman, 1983. "The Impact of the Minimum Wage on Other Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(3), pages 359-378.
  6. David Neumark & William Wascher, 1995. "The Effects of Minimum Wages on Teenage Employment and Enrollment: Evidence from Matched CPS Surveys," NBER Working Papers 5092, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne & Stanger, Shuchita, 1999. "The Highs and Lows of the Minimum Wage Effect: A Time-Series Cross-Section Study of the Canadian Law," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 318-50, April.
  8. Freeman, Richard B, 1996. "The Minimum Wage as a Redistributive Tool," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(436), pages 639-49, May.
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