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The Effects of Minimum Wages on Employment: Theory and Evidence from Britain

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  • Dickens, Richard
  • Machin, Stephen
  • Manning, Alan

Abstract

Recent work on the economic effects of minimum wages has stressed that the standard economic model, where increases in minimum wages depress employment, is not supported by empirical work in some labor markets. The authors present a general theoretical model whereby employers have some degree of monopsony power, which allows minimum wages to have the conventional negative impact on employment but which also allows for a neutral or positive impact. Studying the industry-based British Wages Councils between 1975 and 1992, they find that minimum wages significantly compress the distribution of earnings but do not have a negative impact on employment. Copyright 1999 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Dickens, Richard & Machin, Stephen & Manning, Alan, 1999. "The Effects of Minimum Wages on Employment: Theory and Evidence from Britain," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 1-22, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:17:y:1999:i:1:p:1-22
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nickell, Stephen J & Wadhwani, Sushil, 1990. "Insider Forces and Wage Determination," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 496-509, June.
    2. Kaufman, Roger T, 1989. "The Effects of Statutory Minimum Rates of Pay on Employment in Great Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(398), pages 1040-1053, December.
    3. Stephen Machin & Alan Manning & S Woodland, 1993. "Are Workers Paid their Marginal Product? Evidence from a Low Wage Labour Market," CEP Discussion Papers dp0158, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    4. Sullivan, Daniel, 1989. "Monopsony Power in the Market for Nurses," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(2), pages 135-178, October.
    5. Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1989. "The Employer Size-Wage Effect," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1027-1059, October.
    6. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-273, May.
    7. Richard Dickens & Paul Gregg & Stephen Machin & Alan Manning & Jonathan Wadsworth, 1993. "Wages Councils: Was There a Case for Abolition?," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 31(4), pages 515-529, December.
    8. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
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