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The minimum wage and restaurant prices

  • Daniel Aaronson
  • Eric French
  • James MacDonald

Using both store-level and aggregated price data from the food away from home component of the Consumer Price Index survey, we show that restaurant prices rise in response to an increase in the minimum wage. These results hold up when using several different sources of variation in the data. We interpret these findings within a model of employment determination. The model implies that minimum wage hikes cause employment to fall and prices to rise if labor markets are competitive but potentially cause employment to rise and prices to fall if labor markets are monopsonistic. Therefore, our empirical results appear to provide evidence against the hypothesis that monopsony power is important for understanding the small observed employment responses to minimum wage changes.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-04-21.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-04-21
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  1. 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 C102-C109, 03.
  2. Alan Manning, 1994. "How do we Know that Real Wages are Too High?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0195, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. James M. MacDonald & Daniel Aaronson, 2006. "How Firms Construct Price Changes: Evidence from Restaurant Responses to Increased Minimum Wages," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 88(2), pages 292-307.
  4. Flinn, Christopher, 2003. "Minimum Wage Effects on Labor Market Outcomes under Search with Bargaining," IZA Discussion Papers 949, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. William Wascher & David Neumark, 2000. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1362-1396, December.
  6. Eric French & Dan Aaronson, 2004. "Product Market Evidence on the Employment Effects of the Minimum Wage," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 549, Econometric Society.
  7. Kashyap, Anil K, 1995. "Sticky Prices: New Evidence from Retail Catalogs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(1), pages 245-74, February.
  8. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 64, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  9. Manning, Alan, 2011. "Imperfect Competition in the Labor Market," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
  10. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2004. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 947-985, October.
  11. Bhaskar, V & To, Ted, 1999. "Minimum Wages for Ronald McDonald Monopsonies: A Theory of Monopsonistic Competition," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(455), pages 190-203, April.
  12. Jeffrey R. Campbell & Beverly Lapham, 2001. "Real Exchange Rate Fluctuations and the Dynamics of Retail Trade Industries on the U.S.-Canada Border," NBER Working Papers 8558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. William M. Boal & Michael R. Ransom, 1997. "Monopsony in the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 86-112, March.
  17. Alan B. Krueger & David Card, 2000. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1397-1420, December.
  18. Varian, Hal R, 1984. "The Nonparametric Approach to Production Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 579-97, May.
  19. Victor R. Fuchs & Alan B. Krueger & James M. Poterba, 1998. "Economists' Views about Parameters, Values, and Policies: Survey Results in Labor and Public Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1387-1425, September.
  20. 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.
  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. David Neumark & William Wascher, 1995. "Reconciling the evidence on employment effects of minimum wages: a review of our research findings," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-53, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  23. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-73, May.
  24. Burkhauser, Richard V & Couch, Kenneth A & Wittenburg, David C, 2000. "A Reassessment of the New Economics of the Minimum Wage Literature with Monthly Data from the Current Population Survey," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(4), pages 653-80, October.
  25. Hashimoto, Masanori, 1982. "Minimum Wage Effects on Training on the Job," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1070-87, December.
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