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Minimum Wages and Employment: Reconsidering the Use of a Time-Series Approach as an Evaluation Tool

  • Wang-Sheng Lee

    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

  • Sandy Suardi

    (Department of Economics and Finance, La Trobe University)

The time-series approach used in the minimum wage literature essentially aims to estimate a treatment effect of increasing the minimum wage. In this paper, we employ a novel approach based on aggregate time-series data that allows us to determine if minimum wage changes have significant effects on employment. This involves the use of tests for structural breaks as a device for identifying discontinuities in the data which potentially represent treatment effects. In an application based on Australian data, the tentative conclusion is that the introduction of minimum wage legislation in Australia in 1997 and subsequent minimum wage increases appear not to have had any significant negative employment effects for teenagers.

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Paper provided by Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne in its series Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series with number wp2008n20.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2008n20
Contact details of provider: Postal: Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010 Australia
Phone: +61 3 8344 2100
Fax: +61 3 8344 2111
Web page: http://www.melbourneinstitute.com/
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  1. Neumark, David & Wascher, William L., 2007. "Minimum Wages and Employment," Foundations and Trends(R) in Microeconomics, now publishers, vol. 3(1–2), pages 1-182, March.
  2. Jushan Bai, 1995. "Estimating Multiple Breaks One at a Time," Working papers 95-18, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Perron, Pierre, 1989. "The Great Crash, the Oil Price Shock, and the Unit Root Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1361-1401, November.
  4. Anne Morrison Piehl & Suzanne J. Cooper & Anthony A. Braga & David M. Kennedy, 2003. "Testing for Structural Breaks in the Evaluation of Programs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 550-558, August.
  5. Peter Fredriksson & Per Johansson, 2003. "Program Evaluation and Random Program Starts," CESifo Working Paper Series 844, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. 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.
  7. Matthew James & Mark Wooden & Peter Dawkins, 2001. "Minimum Wages And The Fallacy Of The Inflated Denominator," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 20(3), pages 59-70, 09.
  8. Alison J. Wellington, 1991. "Effects of the Minimum Wage on the Employment Status of Youths: An Update," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(1), pages 27-46.
  9. Eric Zivot & Donald W.K. Andrews, 1990. "Further Evidence on the Great Crash, the Oil Price Shock, and the Unit Root Hypothesis," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 944, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  10. D. W. K. Andrews, 2003. "End-of-Sample Instability Tests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1661-1694, November.
  11. Andrew Leigh, 2005. "Does Raising the Minimum Wage Help the Poor?," CEPR Discussion Papers 501, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  12. Andrews, Donald W K, 1993. "Tests for Parameter Instability and Structural Change with Unknown Change Point," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(4), pages 821-56, July.
  13. Bazen, Stephen & Marimoutou, Velayoudom, 2002. " Looking for a Needle in a Haystack? A Re-examination of the Time Series Relationship between Teenage Employment and Minimum Wages in the United States," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 64(0), pages 699-725, Supplemen.
  14. Bruce E. Hansen, 1995. "Approximate Asymptotic P-Values for Structural Change Tests," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 297., Boston College Department of Economics.
  15. Andrew Leigh, 2003. "Employment Effects of Minimum Wages: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 36(4), pages 361-373.
  16. Lechner, Michael, 1999. "Earnings and Employment Effects of Continuous Off-the-Job Training in East Germany after Unification," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 17(1), pages 74-90, January.
  17. Hristos Doucouliagos & T. D. Stanley, 2009. "Publication Selection Bias in Minimum-Wage Research? A Meta-Regression Analysis," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 47(2), pages 406-428, 06.
  18. Ian Watson, 2004. "Minimum Wages and Employment: Comment," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 37(2), pages 166-172, 06.
  19. Harding, Don & Harding, Glenys, 2004. "Minimum wages in Australia: an analysis of the impact on small and medium sized businesses," MPRA Paper 25, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  20. Jaehwan Park & Ronald Ratti, 1998. "Stationary data and the effect of the minimum wage on teenage employment," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(4), pages 435-440.
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