Minimum wage effects on employment, substitution, and the quality of the teenage labor supply: Evidence from personal data
Using personnel data from a large U.S. retail firm with more than 700 stores nationwide, this study examines how the 1996 federal minimum wage increase affected both the level of employment at each store and also the fraction of teenagers employed. Because the minimum wage caused the relative wages of teenagers to increase at many stores, examining the relative employment of teenagers permits me to test the hypothesis of substitution toward more skilled (i.e., relatively high-wage) employees. The basic results indicate, first, that while the legislation had a much greater impact on average wages in some stores than in others, there is no significant difference in post-legislation employment growth at high-impact and low-impact stores. Second, I find that in stores where the legislation caused larger increases in the relative wage of teenagers, the employment of teenagers rose faster after the law was implemented. These results appear inconsistent with the traditional view that minimum wages lead employers to reduce employment, and to substitute relatively high-skilled, high-wage labor for the labor of the less-skilled workers whose relative wages go up. However, additional analysis suggests that the apparent contradiction can be explained in the context of a model (Drazen, 1986) that incorporates imperfect information about the quality of teenage applicants into the traditional, competitive framework. Specifically, the evidence suggests that high-quality teenagers often were not paid wages proportional to their output, and were drawn into the labor market when the minimum wage forced stores to pay teenagers more like adults. In these stores, the legislation appears to have increased the demand for teenage labor by raising the average quality of the teenage applicant pool. In contrast, where the legislation increased the wages of both teenagers and adults without compressing the wage distribution, the result was a decline in employment, as predicted by the conventional model.
|Date of creation:||Jul 2007|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Forthcoming, Journal of Labor Economics|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: P.O. Box 248126, Coral Gables, FL 33124-6550|
Phone: (305) 284-5540
Fax: (305) 284-2985
Web page: http://www.bus.miami.edu/faculty-and-research/academic-departments/economics/index.html
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- 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.).
- David Neumark & William Wascher, 1993. "Employment Effects of Minimum and Subminimum Wages: Reply to Card, Katz and Krueger," NBER Working Papers 4570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David Neumark & William Wascher, 1995. "The Effects of Minimum Wages on Teenage Employment and Enrollment: Evidence from Matched CPS Surveys," NBER Working Papers 5092, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lawrence Katz & Alan Krueger, 1992. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on the Fast Food Industry," Working Papers 678, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
- Lang, Kevin & Kahn, Shulamit, 1998. "The effect of minimum-wage laws on the distribution of employment: theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 67-82, July.
- repec:pri:indrel:298 is not listed on IDEAS
- David Neumark & William L. Wascher, 2008. "Minimum Wages," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262141027, March.
- Drazen, Allan, 1986. "Optimal Minimum Wage Legislation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(383), pages 774-84, September.
- Rebecca M. Blank, 2002.
"Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States,"
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1105-1166, December.
- David Neumark & William Wascher, 1992. "Employment Effects of Minimum and Subminimum Wages: Panel Data on State Minimum Wage Laws," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 55-81, October.
- Katz, L.F. & Krueger, A.B., 1992.
"The Effect of the Minimum Wage on the Fast Food Industry,"
Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers
1584, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1992. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on the Fast-Food Industry," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 6-21, October.
- Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1992. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on the Fast Food Industry," NBER Working Papers 3997, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Freeman, Richard B, 1996. "The Minimum Wage as a Redistributive Tool," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(436), pages 639-49, May.
- repec:fth:prinin:298 is not listed on IDEAS
- J. Luis Guasch & Andrew Weiss, 1980. "Wages as Sorting Mechanisms in Competitive Markets with Asymmetric Information: A Theory of Testing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(4), pages 653-664.
- David Neumark & William Wascher, 2006.
"Minimum Wages and Employment: A Review of Evidence from the New Minimum Wage Research,"
060708, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2007.
- David Neumark & William Wascher, 2006. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Review of Evidence from the New Minimum Wage Research," NBER Working Papers 12663, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David Card & Lawrence Katz & Alan Krueger, 1993. "Comment on David Neumark and William Wascher, 'Employment Effects of Minimum and Subminimum Wages: Panel Data on State Minimum Wage Laws'," Working Papers 695, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mia:wpaper:0723. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christopher Parmeter)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.