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Building the Minimum Wage: Germany's First Sectoral Minimum Wage and Its Impact on Wages in the Construction Industry


  • Pia Rattenhuber


The very first minimum wage in Germany was introduced in 1997 for blue-collar workers in sub-sectors of the construction industry. In the setting of a natural experiment blue-collar workers in neighboring 4-digit-industries and white-collar workers are used as control groups for differences-in-differences-in-differences estimation based on linked employer-employee data. Estimation results reveal a sizable positive average impact on wages in East Germany and no effect in West Germany. Size and significance of effects are not homogeneous across wage regimes (individual vs. collective contracts) and across the distribution suggesting spillover effects to wages where the minimum is not binding.

Suggested Citation

  • Pia Rattenhuber, 2011. "Building the Minimum Wage: Germany's First Sectoral Minimum Wage and Its Impact on Wages in the Construction Industry," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1111, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1111

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    1. Lee, Deok Ki & Park, Sang Yong & Park, Soo Uk, 2007. "Development of assessment model for demand-side management investment programs in Korea," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 5585-5590, November.
    2. Diaf, S. & Diaf, D. & Belhamel, M. & Haddadi, M. & Louche, A., 2007. "A methodology for optimal sizing of autonomous hybrid PV/wind system," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 5708-5718, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bernhard Boockmann & Raimund Krumm & Michael Neumann & Pia Rattenhuber, 2013. "Turning the Switch: An Evaluation of the Minimum Wage in the German Electrical Trade Using Repeated Natural Experiments," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 14(3), pages 316-348, August.
    2. Stefan Pichler & Nicolas Ziebarth, 2016. "The Pros and Cons of Sick Pay Schemes: Testing for Contagious Presenteeism and Shirking Behavior," NBER Chapters,in: Social Insurance Programs (Trans-Atlantic Public Economic Seminar - TAPES) National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Hanna Frings, 2013. "The Employment Effect of Industry-Specific, Collectively Bargained Minimum Wages," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 14(3), pages 258-281, August.
    4. Bodo Aretz & Melanie Arntz & Terry Gregory, 2013. "The Minimum Wage Affects Them All: Evidence on Employment Spillovers in the Roofing Sector," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 14(3), pages 282-315, August.
    5. repec:zbw:rwirep:0348 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Hanna Frings, 2012. "The Employment Effect of Industry-Specific, Collectively-Bargained Minimum Wages," Ruhr Economic Papers 0348, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    7. repec:eee:labeco:v:47:y:2017:i:c:p:163-181 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. 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.

    More about this item


    Minimum wage; construction sector; linked employer-employee data; differences-in-differences-in-differences; unconditional quantile regression;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy

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