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The Elasticity of Labor Demand and the Minimum Wage

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  • Danziger, Leif

    () (Ben Gurion University)

Abstract

We show that, contrary to widespread belief, low-pay workers do not generally prefer that the minimum wage rate be increased until the labor demand is unitary elastic. Rather, there exists a critical value of elasticity of labor demand so that increases in the minimum wage rate make low-pay workers better off for higher elasticities, but worse off for lower elasticities. This critical value decreases with unemployment benefits and increases with workers’ risk aversion. We also show that in some countries the benefits for long-term unemployed are so low that workers would probably prefer that the minimum wage rate be decreased.

Suggested Citation

  • Danziger, Leif, 2007. "The Elasticity of Labor Demand and the Minimum Wage," IZA Discussion Papers 3150, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3150
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    3. John T. Addison & McKinleyl Blackburn, 1999. "Minimum Wages and Poverty," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(3), pages 393-409, April.
    4. 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.
    5. Russell S. Sobel, 1999. "Theory and Evidence on the Political Economy of the Minimum Wage," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 761-785, August.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. David Neumark & William Wascher, 1993. "Employment effects of minimum and subminimum wages: reply to Card, Katz, and Krueger," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 144, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    9. Robert B. Barsky & F. Thomas Juster & Miles S. Kimball & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-579.
    10. Mankiw, N Gregory, 1985. "Consumer Durables and the Real Interest Rate," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(3), pages 353-362, August.
    11. 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 653-680, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eliav Danziger & Leif Danziger, 2018. "The Optimal Graduated Minimum Wage and Social Welfare," CESifo Working Paper Series 6943, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Boeri, Tito, 2012. "Setting the minimum wage," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 281-290.
    3. Marcus Dittrich, 2010. "Minimum Wages and Unemployment Benefits in a Unionized Economy: A Game-Theoretic Approach," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 11(2), pages 209-229, November.
    4. Eliav Danziger & Leif Danziger, 2015. "A Pareto-improving Minimum Wage," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 82(326), pages 236-252, April.
    5. Danziger, Eliav & Danziger, Leif, 2018. "The Optimal Graduated Minimum Wage and Social Welfare," IZA Discussion Papers 11386, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Danziger, Eliav & Danziger, Leif, 2018. "The Optimal Graduated Minimum Wage and Social Welfare," GLO Discussion Paper Series 188, Global Labor Organization (GLO).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    minimum wage; elasticity of labor demand;

    JEL classification:

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

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