IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The Minimum Wage and Productivity Differentials

Listed author(s):
Registered author(s):

    A firm's ability to adjust its production process to economize on low-skilled labor when faced with a minimum wage increase will differ greatly depending on industry or occupation. For example, more capital-intensive means of cleaning hotel rooms or serving customers at restaurants may not be readily available without degrading service quality. In such situations, the productivity of labor is essentially capped, and firms have few options when the minimum wage increases. This simple observation has implications for studies that rely on microdata to examine the effects of minimum wage increases. If firms only increase prices in response to a minimum wage increase, employment effects are likely small. If the goal of the minimum wage is to redistribute income from firms and consumers to workers, minimum-wage increases targeted at industries and occupations where such rigidities result in an inelastic demand for labor may achieve the desired goal at a lower cost than across-the-board increases. However, such a scheme causes an inefficient allocation of labor and would be subjected to substantial political pressures that may lead to anomalous results. Additionally, it is unreasonable to conclude that policy makers have the necessary information to skillfully set the minimum wage.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Transaction Publishers in its journal Journal of Labor Research.

    Volume (Year): 21 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 4 (October)
    Pages: 649-668

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:tra:jlabre:v:21:y:2000:i:4:p:649-668
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tra:jlabre:v:21:y:2000:i:4:p:649-668. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christopher F. Baum)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.