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Would a Legal Minimum Wage Reduce Poverty? A Microsimulation Study for Germany

Author

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  • Müller, Kai-Uwe

    () (DIW Berlin)

  • Steiner, Viktor

    () (Free University of Berlin)

Abstract

In view of rising wage inequality and increasing poverty, the introduction of a legal minimum wage has recently become an important policy issue in Germany. We analyze the distributional effects of the introduction of a nationwide legal minimum wage of € 7.5 per hour on the basis of a microsimulation model which accounts for the complex interactions between individual wages, the tax-benefit system and net household incomes. Simulation results show that the minimum wage would be rather ineffective in reducing poverty, even if it led to a substantial increase in hourly wages at the bottom of the wage distribution and had no negative employment effects. The ineffectiveness of a minimum wage in Germany is mainly due to the existing system of means-tested income support.

Suggested Citation

  • Müller, Kai-Uwe & Steiner, Viktor, 2008. "Would a Legal Minimum Wage Reduce Poverty? A Microsimulation Study for Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 3491, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3491
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    minimum wage; wage distribution; working poor; poverty reduction; micro-simulation;

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions

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