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The Effect of Minimum Wages on Employment: A Factor Model Approach

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  • Totty, Evan

Abstract

This paper resolves issues in the minimum wage-employment debate by using factor model econometric methods to address concerns related to unobserved heterogeneity. Recent work has shown that the negative effects of minimum wages on employment found using traditional methods are sensitive to the inclusion of controls for regional heterogeneity and selection of states that experience minimum wage hikes, leaving the two sides of the debate in disagreement about the appropriate approach. Factor model methods are an ideal solution for this disagreement, as they allow for the presence of multiple unobserved common factors, which can be correlated with the regressors. These methods provide a more exible way of addressing concerns related to unobserved heterogeneity and are robust to critiques from either side of the debate. The factor model estimators produce minimum wage-employment elasticities that are much smaller than the traditional OLS results and are not statistically different from zero. These results hold for many specications and two datasets that have been used in the minimum wage-employment literature. A simulation shows that unobserved common factors can explain the different estimates seen across methodologies in the literature.

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  • Totty, Evan, 2015. "The Effect of Minimum Wages on Employment: A Factor Model Approach," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt2b26n60q, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:indrel:qt2b26n60q
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    Cited by:

    1. David Neumark, 2019. "The Econometrics and Economics of the Employment Effects of Minimum Wages: Getting from Known Unknowns to Known Knowns," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 20(3), pages 293-329, August.
    2. Congressional Budget Office, 2019. "The Effects on Employment and Family Income of Increasing the Federal Minimum Wage," Reports 55410, Congressional Budget Office.
    3. Doruk Cengiz & Arindrajit Dube & Attila Lindner & Ben Zipperer, 2018. "The Effect of Minimum Wages on Low-Wage Jobs: Evidence from the United States Using a Bunching Estimator," CEP Discussion Papers dp1531, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    4. Charles C. Brown & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2019. "Wages and Hours Laws: What Do We Know? What Can Be Done?," NBER Working Papers 25942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Daniele Tavani & Luke Petach, 2018. "No one is alone: Strategic complementarities, capacity utilization, growth, and distribution," FMM Working Paper 19-2018, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    6. David Neumark, 2016. "Policy levers to increase jobs and increase income from work after the Great Recession," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-38, December.
    7. David Neumark, 2017. "The Employment Effects of Minimum Wages: Some Questions We Need to Answer," NBER Working Papers 23584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Borgschulte, Mark & Cho, Heepyung, 2018. "Minimum Wages and Retirement," IZA Discussion Papers 11728, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Ekaterina Jardim & Mark C. Long & Robert Plotnick & Emma van Inwegen & Jacob Vigdor & Hilary Wething, 2017. "Minimum Wage Increases, Wages, and Low-Wage Employment: Evidence from Seattle," NBER Working Papers 23532, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Jonathan A. Parker & Daniel H. Cooper & Maria Jose Luengo-Prado, 2017. "The local aggregate effects of minimum wage increases," Working Papers 17-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, revised 01 Aug 2017.
    11. Theano Kakoulidou & Panagiotis Konstantinou & Thomas Moutos, 2018. "The Subminimum Wage Reform in Greece and the Labour-Labour Substitution Hypothesis," CESifo Working Paper Series 7273, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Dube, Arindrajit & Zipperer, Ben, 2015. "Pooling Multiple Case Studies Using Synthetic Controls: An Application to Minimum Wage Policies," IZA Discussion Papers 8944, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Kevin Rinz & John Voorheis, 2018. "The Distributional Effects of Minimum Wages: Evidence from Linked Survey and Administrative Data," CARRA Working Papers 2018-02, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    14. repec:eee:streco:v:50:y:2019:i:c:p:203-215 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. David Neumark, 2015. "The effects of minimum wages on employment," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    16. Clemens, Michael A., 2017. "Violence, Development and Migration Waves: Evidence from Central American Child Migrant Apprehensions," IZA Discussion Papers 10928, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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