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Did the National Minimum Wage Affect UK Prices?

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  • Jonathan Wadsworth

Abstract

One potential channel through which the effects of the minimum wage could be directed is that firms who employ minimum wage workers could have passed on any higher labour costs resulting from the minimum wage in the form of higher prices. This study looks at the effects of the minimum wage on the prices of UK goods and services by comparing prices of goods produced by industries in which UK minimum wage workers make up a substantial share of total costs with prices of goods and services that make less use of minimum wage labour. Using sectoral-level price data matched to LFS survey data on the share of minimum wage workers in each sector, it is hard to find much evidence of significant price changes in the months that correspond immediately to the uprating of the NMW. However over the longer term, prices in several minimum wage sectors - notably take-away foods, canteen meals, hotel services and domestic services - do appear to have risen significantly faster than prices of non-minimum wage sectors. These effects were particularly significant in the four years immediately after the introduction of the minimum wage.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Wadsworth, 2009. "Did the National Minimum Wage Affect UK Prices?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0947, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0947
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    Cited by:

    1. Ana Rincon-Aznar, 2009. "Rates of return and alternative measures of capital input: 14 countries and 10 branches, 1971-2005," National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) Discussion Papers 347, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
    2. Sebastian Link, 2019. "The Price and Employment Response of Firms to the Introduction of Minimum Wages," CESifo Working Paper Series 7575, CESifo.
    3. Bachmann, Ronald & Bonin, Holger & Boockmann, Bernhard & Demir, Gökay & Felder, Rahel & Isphording, Ingo & Kalweit, René & Laub, Natalie & Vonnahme, Christina & Zimpelmann, Christian, 2020. "Auswirkungen des gesetzlichen Mindestlohns auf Löhne und Arbeitszeiten: Studie im Auftrag der Mindestlohnkommission," RWI Projektberichte, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, number 222998, September.
    4. Mustafa Utku Özmen, 2020. "In Pursuit Of Understanding Markups In Restaurant Services Prices," The Singapore Economic Review (SER), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 65(06), pages 1423-1437, December.
    5. Sila, Urban, 2009. "Can family-support policies help explain differences in working hours across countries?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28684, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Philipp Berge & Hanna Frings, 2020. "High-impact minimum wages and heterogeneous regions," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 59(2), pages 701-729, August.
    7. Katalin Bodnár & Ludmila Fadejeva & Stefania Iordache & Liina Malk & Desislava Paskaleva & Jurga Pesliakaitė & Nataša Todorović Jemec & Peter Tóth & Robert Wyszyński, 2018. "How do firms adjust to rises in the minimum wage? Survey evidence from Central and Eastern Europe," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 7(1), pages 1-30, December.
    8. Rizov, Marian & Croucher, Richard & Lange, Thomas, 2016. "The UK national minimum wage's impact on productivity," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 819-835.
    9. Haroon Bhorat & Tara Caetano & Benjamin Jourdan & Ravi Kanbur & Christopher Rooney & Benjamin Stanwix & Ingrid Woolard, 2016. "Investigating the Feasibility of a National Minimum Wage for South Africa," Working Papers 201601, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    10. Thomas Werner & Friedrich L. Sell, 2015. "Price Effects of the Minimum Wage: A Survey Data Analysis for the German Construction Sector," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 29(3), pages 310-326, September.
    11. Riley, Rebecca & Rosazza Bondibene, Chiara, 2017. "Raising the standard: Minimum wages and firm productivity," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 27-50.
    12. Brian D. Bell & Nicholas Bloom & Jack Blundell, 2021. "This Time is Not so Different: Income Dynamics During the COVID-19 Recession," NBER Working Papers 28871, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Peter Dolton, 2012. "The administration and impact of a national minimum wage: lessons for Germany," Journal for Labour Market Research, Springer;Institute for Employment Research/ Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), vol. 45(3), pages 201-208, December.
    14. Dr. Nickolaos Giovanis, 2018. "Determining Factors of Minimum Wage in the Member States of the OECD," Sumerianz Journal of Business Management and Marketing, Sumerianz Publication, vol. 1(4), pages 93-101, 12-2018.
    15. Daniel MacDonald & Eric Nilsson, 2016. "The Effects of Increasing the Minimum Wage on Prices: Analyzing the Incidence of Policy Design and Context," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 16-260, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    16. Bachmann, Ronald & Bonin, Holger & Boockmann, Bernhard & Demir, Gökay & Felder, Rahel & Isphording, Ingo E. & Kalweit, René & Laub, Natalie & Vonnahme, Christina & Zimpelmann, Christian, 2020. "Auswirkungen des gesetzlichen Mindestlohns auf Löhne und Arbeitszeiten," IZA Research Reports 96, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. International Monetary Fund, 2016. "Cross-Country Report on Minimum Wages: Selected Issues," IMF Staff Country Reports 2016/151, International Monetary Fund.
    18. Lea Immel, 2021. "The Impact of Labor Market Reforms on Income Inequality: Evidence from the German Hartz Reforms," ifo Working Paper Series 347, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    19. Dr. Nickolaos Giovanis, 2019. "“Determining Factors of Minimum Wage in the Member States of the OECDâ€," Sumerianz Journal of Business Management and Marketing, Sumerianz Publication, vol. 2(1), pages 6-14, 01-2019.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Minimum wage; prices;

    JEL classification:

    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

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