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The Effect of the Minimum Wage on Prices

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  • Lemos, Sara

    () (University of Leicester)

Abstract

It is well established in the international literature that minimum wage increases compress the wages distribution. Firms respond to these higher labour costs by reducing employment, reducing profits, or raising prices. While there are hundreds of studies on the employment effect of the minimum wage, there is less than a handful studies on its profit effects, and only a couple of dozen studies on its price effects. Not only is the literature scanty on the minimum wage price effects, but also it lacks a survey on that. This survey represents an important contribution to the literature because it summarizes and critically compares over twenty price effect studies, providing a benchmark in the literature. This survey further contributes to the literature by offering an input to the recent debate over the direction of employment effects of the minimum wage. With employment and profits not significantly affected, higher prices is an obvious response to a minimum wage increase. Moreover, this survey also contributes to the literature by extending the current understanding on the minimum wage as a policy against inequality and poverty. If the minimum wage does not cause disemployment but causes inflation, it might hurt rather than aid the poor, who disproportionately suffer from inflation.

Suggested Citation

  • Lemos, Sara, 2004. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on Prices," IZA Discussion Papers 1072, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1072
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Michael M. Knetter, 1997. "Goods Prices and Exchange Rates: What Have We Learned?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1243-1272, September.
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    25. repec:fth:prinin:298 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Belser, Patrick. & Rani, Uma., 2010. "Extending the coverage of minimum wages in India : simulations from household data," ILO Working Papers 994584553402676, International Labour Organization.
    2. Cuong Nguyen, 2012. "Do minimum wage increases cause inflation? evidence from vietnam," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(1), pages 1-9.
    3. Sara Lemos, 2006. "Anticipated effects of the minimum wage on prices," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(3), pages 325-337.
    4. Roberta Gatti & Diego F. Angel-Urdinola & Joana Silva & Andras Bodor, 2014. "Striving for Better Jobs : The Challenge of Informality in the Middle East and North Africa," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 19905.
    5. Hoxha Adriatik, 2010. "Causal relationship between prices and wages: VECM analysis for Germany," EuroEconomica, Danubius University of Galati, issue 26, pages 90-106, November.
    6. Gabriel Ulyssea & Miguel N. Foguel, 2006. "Efeitos do Salário Mínimo Sobre o Mercado de Trabalho Brasileiro," Discussion Papers 1168, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA.
    7. Gligor Bishev & Tatjana Boshkov, 2015. "Arguments for and Against Retaining Exchange Rate Regime: An Empirical Analysis for Republic of Macedonia," Asian Economic and Financial Review, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 5(8), pages 1004-1013, August.
    8. Nicolás Grau & Oscar Landerretche, 2011. "The Labor Impact of Minimum Wages: A Method for Estimating the Effect in Emerging Economies using Chilean Panel Data," Working Papers wp329, University of Chile, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    employment effect; wage effect; minimum wage; price effect informal sector; cost shock;

    JEL classification:

    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy

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