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The effect of minimum wages on consumption in Canada

Author

Listed:
  • Young Cheol Jung

    (Mount Royal University, Canada)

  • Adian McFarlane

    (King’s University College at Western University Canada, Canada)

  • Anupam Das

    (Mount Royal University, Canada)

Abstract

We use Canadian data over the period of 1991Q1 to 2019Q2 to examine the effect of higher minimum wages on consumption, measured as the real retail trade sales per adult population. Such an examination is rare in the extant literature and it is timely given the increasing debate concerning the stimulus versus inflationary effects arising from wage polices because of COVID-19 global pandemic. We apply the autoregressive distributed lag model to determine the causal relationship between these variables. We find one long-run cointegrating relationship that runs from the real minimum wage to the real retail trade sales. In addition, we find that a 1% increase in the minimum wage is associated with almost a 0.5% increase in real retail trade sales in the long run. While our findings rest on several statistical assumptions, there is strong evidence in support of the position that minimum wage strengthens aggregate consumer spending, and thereby the standard of living, economic growth and stability. This is a position that differs from the conclusions drawn from mainstream academic and policy debates on the economic usefulness and efficacy of minimum wage increases. JEL Codes: C30, E21, E24

Suggested Citation

  • Young Cheol Jung & Adian McFarlane & Anupam Das, 2021. "The effect of minimum wages on consumption in Canada," The Economic and Labour Relations Review, , vol. 32(1), pages 65-89, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ecolab:v:32:y:2021:i:1:p:65-89
    DOI: 10.1177/1035304620949950
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    autoregressive distributed lag; cointegration; consumption; minimum wage;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C30 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - General
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity

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