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Does Raising the Minimum Wage Help the Poor?

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  • Andrew Leigh

Abstract

What is the impact of raising the minimum wage on family incomes? Analysing the characteristics of low wage workers, I find that those who earn near-minimum wages are disproportionately female, unmarried and young, without post-school qualifications and overseas born. About one-third of near-minimum wage workers are the sole worker in their household. Due to low labour force participation rates in the poorest households, minimum wage workers are most likely to be in middle-income households. Using various plausible parameters for the effect of minimum wages on hourly wages and employment, I estimate the impact of a minimum wage rise on inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Leigh, 2005. "Does Raising the Minimum Wage Help the Poor?," CEPR Discussion Papers 501, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:501
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    File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/cepr/DP501.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Berg, Joyce & Forsythe, Robert & Nelson, Forrest & Rietz, Thomas, 2008. "Results from a Dozen Years of Election Futures Markets Research," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
    2. Cameron, Lisa & Crosby, Mark, 2000. "It's the Economy Stupid: Macroeconomics and Federal Elections in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 76(235), pages 354-364, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:jlabre:v:38:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s12122-017-9241-z is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Paul Frijters & Robert Gregory, 2006. "From Golden Age to Golden Age: Australia's 'Great Leap Forward'?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 82(257), pages 207-224, June.
    3. Michele Campolieti & Morley Gunderson & Byron Lee, 2012. "The (Non) Impact of Minimum Wages on Poverty: Regression and Simulation Evidence for Canada," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 287-302, September.
    4. Wang‐Sheng Lee & Sandy Suardi, 2011. "Minimum Wages and Employment: Reconsidering the Use of a Time Series Approach as an Evaluation Tool," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 49(Supplemen), pages 376-401, July.
    5. Joseph J. Sabia, 2008. "Minimum wages and the economic well-being of single mothers," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(4), pages 848-866.
    6. Roger Wilkins & Mark Wooden, 2011. "Measuring Minimum Award Wage Reliance in Australia: The HILDA Survey Experience," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2011n11, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    7. repec:ilo:ilowps:462988 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Kapelyuk Sergey, 2014. "Impact of minimum wage on income distribution and poverty in Russia," EERC Working Paper Series 14/03e, EERC Research Network, Russia and CIS.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Minimum wages; employment; wages; earnings; income distribution;

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution

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