IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ehl/lserod/774.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Minimum wages and firm profitability

Author

Listed:
  • Draca, Mirko
  • Machin, Stephen
  • Van Reenen, John

Abstract

Although there is a large literature on the economic effects of minimum wages on labour market outcomes (especially employment), there is hardly any evidence on their impact on firm performance. This is surprising: minimum wages appear to have a significant impact on wages, but only a limited impact on jobs, so it is natural to imagine there must be a stronger impact on other aspects of firm behaviour. In this paper we consider the impact of minimum wages on firm profitability by exploiting the introduction of a minimum wage to the UK labour market in 1999. We use pre-policy information on the distribution of wages to construct treatment and comparison groups and implement a difference in differences approach. We show evidence that firm profitability was significantly reduced (and wages significantly raised) by the minimum wage introduction. This emerges from separate analyses of two distinct types of firm level panel data (one on firms in a very low wage sector, UK residential care homes, and a second on firms across all sectors). Interestingly, we find no evidence that the profitability reductions resulted in increases in firm exit, so our findings may be consistent with redistribution of quasi-rents towards low wage employees.

Suggested Citation

  • Draca, Mirko & Machin, Stephen & Van Reenen, John, 2006. "Minimum wages and firm profitability," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 774, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:774
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/774/
    File Function: Open access version.
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David Card, 1992. "Using Regional Variation in Wages to Measure the Effects of the Federal Minimum Wage," Working Papers 680, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    2. Philippe Aghion & Nick Bloom & Richard Blundell & Rachel Griffith & Peter Howitt, 2005. "Competition and Innovation: an Inverted-U Relationship," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 701-728.
    3. Sara Lemos, 2008. "A Survey Of The Effects Of The Minimum Wage On Prices," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(1), pages 187-212, February.
    4. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 772-793, September.
    5. Stephen R. Bond & Jason G. Cummins, 2000. "The Stock Market and Investment in the New Economy: Some Tangible Facts and Intangible Fictions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(1), pages 61-124.
    6. Menezes-Filho, Naercio Aquino, 1997. "Unions and Profitability over the 1980s: Some Evidence on Union-Firm Bargaining in the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(442), pages 651-670, May.
    7. James J. Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Petra E. Todd, 1997. "Matching As An Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 605-654.
    8. Denis Fougère & Erwan Gautier & Hervé Le Bihan, 2010. "Restaurant Prices and the Minimum Wage," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 42(7), pages 1199-1234, October.
    9. John Van Reenen, 1996. "The Creation and Capture of Rents: Wages and Innovation in a Panel of U. K. Companies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 195-226.
    10. Nicholas Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2007. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1351-1408.
    11. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2004. "Can Labor Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 91-134.
    12. Stewart, Mark B, 2002. "Estimating the Impact of the Minimum Wage Using Geographical Wage Variation," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 64(0), pages 583-605, Supplemen.
    13. David Neumark & Olena Nizalova, 2007. "Minimum Wage Effects in the Longer Run," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(2).
    14. Daniel Aaronson & Eric French, 2007. "Product Market Evidence on the Employment Effects of the Minimum Wage," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 167-200.
    15. Stephen Machin & Alan Manning, 1992. "Minimum Wages," CEP Discussion Papers dp0080, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    16. Machin, Stephen & Manning, Alan & Rahman, Lupin, 2002. "Where the minimum wage bites hard: the introduction of the UK national minimum wage to a low wage sector," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20070, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    17. Bloom, Nick & Dorgan, Stephen & Dowdy, John & Van Reenen, John & Rippin, Tom, 2005. "Management practices across firms and nations," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 4669, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    18. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias & Costas Meghir & John Van Reenen, 2004. "Evaluating the Employment Impact of a Mandatory Job Search Program," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(4), pages 569-606, June.
    19. Richard Dickens & Alan Manning, 2004. "Has the national minimum wage reduced UK wage inequality?," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 167(4), pages 613-626, November.
    20. Metcalf, David, 2002. "The National Minimum Wage: Coverage, Impact and Future," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 64(0), pages 567-582, Supplemen.
    21. Brown, Charles, 1999. "Minimum wages, employment, and the distribution of income," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 32, pages 2101-2163, Elsevier.
    22. Daniel Aaronson, 2001. "Price Pass-Through And The Minimum Wage," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 158-169, February.
    23. Nickell, Stephen & Nicolitsas, D., 1994. "Wages," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51644, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    24. Ashenfelter, Orley & Smith, Robert S, 1979. "Compliance with the Minimum Wage Law," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(2), pages 333-350, April.
    25. Stephen Machin & Alan Manning & Lupin Rahman, 2003. "Where the Minimum Wage Bites Hard: Introduction of Minimum Wages to a Low Wage Sector," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 154-180, March.
    26. David Card, 1992. "Using Regional Variation in Wages to Measure the Effects of the Federal Minimum Wage," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 22-37, October.
    27. David Metcalf, 2002. "The National Minimum Wage: Coverage, Impact and Future," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 64(s1), pages 567-582, August.
    28. Brown, Charles & Gilroy, Curtis & Kohen, Andrew, 1982. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on Employment and Unemployment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 487-528, June.
    29. repec:fth:prinin:300 is not listed on IDEAS
    30. Stephen Machin & Alan Manning, 2004. "A Test of Competitive Labor Market Theory: The Wage Structure among Care Assistants in the South of England," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 57(3), pages 371-385, April.
    31. Mark B. Stewart, 2004. "The Impact of the Introduction of the U.K. Minimum Wage on the Employment Probabilities of Low-Wage Workers," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(1), pages 67-97, March.
    32. Machin, Stephen & Van Reenen, John, 1993. "Profit Margins and the Business Cycle: Evidence from UK Manufacturing Firms," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(1), pages 29-50, March.
    33. Thomas Lemieux, 2006. "Increasing Residual Wage Inequality: Composition Effects, Noisy Data, or Rising Demand for Skill?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 461-498, June.
    34. 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.
    35. Stephen Machin & Joan Wilson, 2004. "Minimum wages in a low-wage labour market: Care homes in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(494), pages 102-109, March.
    36. Slade, Margaret E., 2004. "Competing models of firm profitability," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 289-308, March.
    37. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias & Costas Meghir & John Van Reenen, 2001. "Evaluating the employment impact of a mandatory job search assistance program," IFS Working Papers W01/20, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Brian Bell & Stephen Machin, 2018. "Minimum Wages and Firm Value," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 159-195.
    2. David Neumark & William Wascher, 2006. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Review of Evidence from the New Minimum Wage Research," NBER Working Papers 12663, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Schumann, Mathias, 2017. "The effects of minimum wages on firm-financed apprenticeship training," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 163-181.
    4. Mario Bossler & Hans-Dieter Gerner, 2020. "Employment Effects of the New German Minimum Wage: Evidence from Establishment-Level Microdata," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 73(5), pages 1070-1094, October.
    5. Sara Lemos, 2004. "The Effects of the Minimum Wage on Prices in Brazil," Labor and Demography 0403011, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. 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.
    7. Sebastian Link, 2019. "The Price and Employment Response of Firms to the Introduction of Minimum Wages," CESifo Working Paper Series 7575, CESifo.
    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. José Azar & Emiliano Huet-Vaughn & Ioana Marinescu & Bledi Taska & Till von Wachter, 2019. "Minimum Wage Employment Effects and Labor Market Concentration," NBER Working Papers 26101, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Lemos Sara, 2005. "Political Variables as Instruments for the Minimum Wage," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-33, December.
    11. 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.
    12. Giupponi, Giulia & Machin, Stephen, 2018. "Changing the Structure of Minimum Wages: Firm Adjustment and Wage Spillovers," CEPR Discussion Papers 12919, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Mark B. Stewart & Joanna K. Swaffield, 2008. "The Other Margin: Do Minimum Wages Cause Working Hours Adjustments for Low‐Wage Workers?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(297), pages 148-167, February.
    14. Michael Stops & Peter Dolton & Chiara Rosazza-Bondibene, 2012. "The Spatial Analysis of the Employment Effect of the Minimum Wage: Case of the UK 1999-2010," ERSA conference papers ersa12p225, European Regional Science Association.
    15. Metcalf, David, 2007. "Why has the British national minimum wage had little or no impact on employment?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19742, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    16. Dolton, Peter & Bondibene, Chiara Rosazza & Stops, Michael, 2015. "Identifying the employment effect of invoking and changing the minimum wage: A spatial analysis of the UK," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 54-76.
    17. Sara Lemos, 2004. "The Effects Of The Minimum Wage On Wages And Employment In Brazil - A Menu Of Minimum Wage Variables," Labor and Demography 0403008, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. János Köllö, 2010. "Hungary: The Consequences of Doubling the Minimum Wage," Chapters, in: Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead (ed.), The Minimum Wage Revisited in the Enlarged EU, chapter 8, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    19. Machin, Stephen & Manning, Alan & Rahman, Lupin, 2002. "Where the minimum wage bites hard: the introduction of the UK national minimum wage to a low wage sector," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20070, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    20. Sara Wong, 2017. "Minimum wage impacts on wages and hours worked of low-income workers in Ecuador," Working Papers PMMA 2017-14, PEP-PMMA.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Minimum wage; profitability; exit.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:774. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/lsepsuk.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: LSERO Manager (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/lsepsuk.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.