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Anticipated Effects of the Minimum Wage on Prices


  • Sara Lemos



There is little empirical evidence on the effect of minimum wage increases on prices, particularly for developing countries. This paper estimates this effect using monthly Brazilian household and firm data over 18 years. As minimum wage increases in Brazil are large, frequent and affect a sizable fraction of the labor force, they affect aggregate prices. Because of this expected price effect, rational agents may take such increases as a signal for future price and wage bargains. Indeed, robust results indicate that the minimum wage raises overall prices not only on the month of the increase, but also in the two months before.

Suggested Citation

  • Sara Lemos, 2004. "Anticipated Effects of the Minimum Wage on Prices," Discussion Papers in Economics 04/25, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  • Handle: RePEc:lec:leecon:04/25

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    References listed on IDEAS

    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.
    2. Stephen Machin & Alan Manning, 1992. "Minimum Wages," CEP Discussion Papers dp0080, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    3. Edward M. Gramlich, 1976. "Impact of Minimum Wages on Other Wages, Employment, and Family Incomes," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 7(2), pages 409-462.
    4. Weiss, Y., 1992. "Inflation and price Adjustment : A Susvey of Findings from Micro-Data," Papers 3-92, Tel Aviv - the Sackler Institute of Economic Studies.
    5. Poterba, James M., 1996. "Retail Price Reactions to Changes in State and Local Sales Taxes," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(2), pages 165-176, June.
    6. Lemos, Sara, 2004. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on Prices," IZA Discussion Papers 1072, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Daniel Aaronson, 2001. "Price Pass-Through And The Minimum Wage," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 158-169, February.
    8. Sara Lemos, 2004. "Minimum Wage Policy and Employment Effects: Evidence from Brazil," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, vol. 0(Fall 2004), pages 219-266, August.
    9. Jaehwan Park & Ronald Ratti, 1998. "Stationary data and the effect of the minimum wage on teenage employment," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(4), pages 435-440.
    10. Stephen Machin & Alan Manning & Lupin Rahman, 2003. "Where the Minimum Wage Bites Hard: Introduction of Minimum Wages to a Low Wage Sector," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 154-180, March.
    11. Poterba, James M., 1996. "Retail Price Reactions to Changes in State and Local Sales Taxes," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(2), pages 165-76, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ernesto Sheriff, 2010. "Inflationary memory as restrictive factor of the impact of the public expense in the economic growth: lessons from high inflation Latin American countries using an innovative inflationary memory indic," Development Research Working Paper Series 13/2010, Institute for Advanced Development Studies.
    2. Belser, Patrick. & Rani, Uma., 2010. "Extending the coverage of minimum wages in India : simulations from household data," ILO Working Papers 994584553402676, International Labour Organization.
    3. Luis Eduardo Arango & Luz Karine Ardila & Miguel Igancio Gómez, 2010. "Efecto del cambio del salario mínimo en el precio de las comidas fuera del hogar en Colombia," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 006621, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
    4. Juli?n Messina & Anna Sanz-de-Galdeano, 2014. "Wage Rigidity and Disinflation in Emerging Countries," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 102-133, January.
    5. 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, June.
    6. Werner, Thomas & Sell, Friedrich L. & Reinisch, David C., 2013. "Price effects of minimum wages: Evidence from the construction sector in East and West Germany," Working Papers in Economics 2013,4, Bundeswehr University Munich, Economic Research Group.
    7. Hoxha Adriatik, 2010. "Causal relationship between prices and wages: VECM analysis for Germany," EuroEconomica, Danubius University of Galati, issue 26, pages 90-106, November.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.

    More about this item


    minimum wage; labor costs; price effect; cost shock; Brazil;

    JEL classification:

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


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