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The Effect of Tip Credits on Earnings and Employment in the U.S. Restaurant Industry


  • Even, William E.

    () (Miami University)

  • Macpherson, David A.

    () (Trinity University)


According to federal law in 2012, employers can take a credit of up to $5.13 for tips received by workers in satisfying the minimum wage requirement of $7.25. This study uses interstate variation in laws regarding tip credits and minimum wages to identify the effects of reducing or eliminating the tip credit on employment and earnings in the U.S. restaurant industry. Using data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages and the Current Population Survey, we find that a reduction in the tip credit increases weekly earnings but reduces employment in the full services restaurant industry and for tipped workers. The results are robust to controls for spatial heterogeneity in employment trends and are supported by a series of falsification tests.

Suggested Citation

  • Even, William E. & Macpherson, David A., 2012. "The Effect of Tip Credits on Earnings and Employment in the U.S. Restaurant Industry," IZA Discussion Papers 7092, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7092

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Allegretto, Sylvia & Dube, Arindrajit & Reich, Michael, 2010. "Do Minimum Wages Really Reduce Teen Employment? Accounting for Heterogeneity and Selectivity in State Panel Data," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt7jq2q3j8, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    2. David Neumark & William L. Wascher, 2008. "Minimum Wages," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262141027, January.
    3. Daniel Aaronson & Eric French, 2007. "Product Market Evidence on the Employment Effects of the Minimum Wage," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 167-200.
    4. Joseph Sabia, 2009. "The Effects of Minimum Wage Increases on Retail Employment and Hours: New Evidence from Monthly CPS Data," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 75-97, March.
    5. Wessels, Walter John, 1997. "Minimum Wages and Tipped Servers," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(2), pages 334-349, April.
    6. Arindrajit Dube & T. William Lester & Michael Reich, 2010. "Minimum Wage Effects Across State Borders: Estimates Using Contiguous Counties," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 945-964, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Allegretto, Sylvia A., 2013. "Waiting for Change: Is it Time to Increase the $2.13 Subminimum Wage?," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt3zx9v0zk, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.

    More about this item


    employment; tip credit; minimum wage; tipped workers; cash wage; earnings;

    JEL classification:

    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy

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