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The Ambiguous Effect of Minimum Wages on Workers and Total Hours

  • Strobl, Eric

    ()

    (Ecole Polytechnique, Paris)

  • Walsh, Frank

    ()

    (University College Dublin)

We model a competitive labour market where firms choose combinations of workers and hours per worker to produce output. If one assumes that the scale of production has no impact on hours per worker, then the change in the number of workers and hours per worker resulting from a minimum wage are inversely related. We demonstrate that total hours worked at the firm may rise for plausible parameter values if there are small fixed costs to hiring workers. Thus, in contrast to the conventional view, we show that the effect of minimum wages on employment is ambiguous.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3643.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Labour Economics, 2011, 18 (2), 218-228
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3643
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  1. Stewart, Mark B. & Swaffield, Joanna K., 2006. "The other margin : do minimum wages cause working hours adjustments for low-wage workers?," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 746, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. Richard Dickens & Alan Manning, 2004. "Spikes and spill-overs: The impact of the national minimum wage on the wage distribution in a low-wage sector," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(494), pages C95-C101, 03.
  3. Kinoshita, Tomio, 1987. "Working Hours and Hedonic Wages in the Market Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(6), pages 1262-77, December.
  4. V. Bhaskar & Ted To, 1996. "Minimum Wages for Ronald McDonald Monopsonies: A Theory of Monopsonistic Competition," Labor and Demography 9603001, EconWPA, revised 21 May 1996.
  5. Richard Blundell & Thomas MaCurdy, 1998. "Labour supply: a review of alternative approaches," IFS Working Papers W98/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. Neumark, David & Wascher, William, 2007. "Minimum Wages and Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 2570, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. De Fraja, Gianni, 1999. "Minimum Wage Legislation, Productivity and Employment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(264), pages 473-88, November.
  8. Strobl, Eric & Walsh, Frank, 2007. "Dealing with monopsony power: Employment subsidies vs. minimum wages," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 83-89, January.
  9. Neumark, D. & Schweitzer, M. & Wascher, W., 1999. "The Effect of Minimum Wages Throughout the Wage Distribution," Papers 9919, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
  10. Brown, Charles, 1999. "Minimum wages, employment, and the distribution of income," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 32, pages 2101-2163 Elsevier.
  11. Connolly, Sara & Gregory, Mary, 2002. " The National Minimum Wage and Hours of Work: Implications for Low Paid Women," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 64(0), pages 607-31, Supplemen.
  12. Daniel B. Klein & Stewart Dompe, 2007. "Reasons for Supporting the Minimum Wage: Asking Signatories of the "Raise the Minimum Wage" Statement," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 4(1), pages 125-167, January.
  13. Dickens, Richard & Alan Manning, 2003. "The Impact of the National Minimum Wage on the Wage Distribution in a Low-Wage Sector," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 60, Royal Economic Society.
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