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Minimum Wages and Firm Employment: Evidence from China

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  • Mr. Yifei Huang
  • Gewei Wang
  • Mr. Prakash Loungani

Abstract

This paper provides the first systematic study of how minimum wage policies in China affect firm employment over the 2000-2007 periods. Using a novel dataset of minimum wage regulations across more than 2,800 counties matched with firm-level data, we investigate both the effect of the minimum wage and its policy enforcement tightening in 2004. A dynamic panel (difference GMM) estimator is combined with a “neighbor-pairs-approach” to control for unobservable heterogeneity common to “border counties” that are subject to different minimum wage changes. We show that minimum wage increases have a significant negative impact on employment, with an estimated elasticity of -0.1. Furthermore, we find a heterogeneous effect of the minimum wage on employment which depends on the firm's wage level. Specifically, the minimum wage has a greater negative impact on employment in low-wage firms than in high-wage firms. Our results are robust for different treatment groups, sample attrition correction, and placebo tests.

Suggested Citation

  • Mr. Yifei Huang & Gewei Wang & Mr. Prakash Loungani, 2014. "Minimum Wages and Firm Employment: Evidence from China," IMF Working Papers 2014/184, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:2014/184
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    WP; firm employment; tertiary industry; dependent variable; employee wage; labor market; state firm; China; employment; minimum wages; policy reform; city variable; firm data; employment estimation; end-of-month number; minimum wage policy reform; firm hiring; minimum-wage determinant; Wages; Wage adjustments; Wage policy; Global;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology

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