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The Role of the Minimum Wage in the Welfare State: An Appraisal

  • Juan J. Dolado
  • Florentino Felgueroso
  • Juan F. Jimeno

In order to offer a balanced assessment of the role of minimum wages in the Welfare State, seven basic questions need to be answered: (i) Why is the minimum wage a useful redistributive tool?; (ii) How binding are minimum wage floors in different countries?; (iii) To what extent do minimum wages have the adverse consequences that standard analysis predict?; (iv) Are there strong theoretical grounds underlying the revisionist results?; (v) Who supports minimum wages?; (vi) Under which conditions is the minimum wage a better tool than other policy instruments to achieve income redistribution?; and, finally, (vii) What is the overall cross-country time-series evidence regarding the employment effect of the minima? The aim of this paper is to provide an appraisal on the available evidence for each of the above-mentioned issues.

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Paper provided by FEDEA in its series Working Papers with number 2000-12.

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Handle: RePEc:fda:fdaddt:2000-12
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  1. Gilles Saint-Paul, 1994. "Do Labor Market Rigidities Fulfill Distributive Objectives?: Searching for the Virtues of the European Model," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 41(4), pages 624-642, December.
  2. Nidardo, J. & Fortin, N. & Lemieux, T., 1994. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Papers 93-94-15, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  3. Manning, Alan, 1995. "How Do We Know That Real Wages Are Too High?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1111-25, November.
  4. James B. Rebitzer & Lowell J. Taylor, 1991. "The Consequences of Minimum Wage Laws: Some New Theoretical Ideas," NBER Working Papers 3877, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Cahuc, P. & Michel, P., 1992. "Minimum Wage, Unemployment and Growth," Papiers d'Economie Mathématique et Applications 92.35, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  6. Acemoglu, Daron & Pischke, Jorn-Steffen, 1999. "Beyond Becker: Training in Imperfect Labour Markets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(453), pages F112-42, February.
  7. Kennan, J., 1995. "The Elusive Effects of Minimum Wages," Working papers 9512, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  8. Ioannides, Yannis M & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1985. "Monopsony and the Lifetime Relation between Wages and Productivity," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 91-100, January.
  9. V. Bhaskar & Ted To, 1996. "Minimum Wages for Ronald McDonald Monopsonies: A Theory of Monopsonistic Competition," Labor and Demography 9603001, EconWPA, revised 21 May 1996.
  10. Freeman, Richard B, 1996. "The Minimum Wage as a Redistributive Tool," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(436), pages 639-49, May.
  11. Metcalf, David, 1999. "The Low Pay Commission and the National Minimum Wage," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(453), pages F46-66, February.
  12. 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.
  13. Demsetz, Harold, 1973. "Industry Structure, Market Rivalry, and Public Policy," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 1-9, April.
  14. DREZE, Jacques & GOLLIER, Christian, . "Risk sharing on the labour market and second-best wage rigidities," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1073, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  15. Charles Brown & Curtis Gilroy & Andrew Kohen, 1982. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on Employment and Unemployment: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 0846, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Allen, Stephen P, 1987. "Taxes, Redistribution, and the Minimum Wage: A Theoretical Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 477-89, August.
  17. Machin, Stephen & Manning, Alan, 1996. "Employment and the Introduction of a Minimum Wage in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(436), pages 667-76, May.
  18. Calvo, Guillermo A & Wellisz, Stanislaw, 1979. "Hierarchy, Ability, and Income Distribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 991-1010, October.
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