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Does the Minimum Wage Cause Inefficient Rationing?

  • Erzo F.P. Luttmer

This paper investigates whether the minimum wage leads to inefficient job rationing. By not allowing wages to clear the labor market, the minimum wage could cause workers with low reservation wages to be rationed out while equally skilled workers with higher reservation wages are employed. This paper exploits the overlapping nature of the CPS panels to more precisely identify those most affected by the minimum wage, a group I refer to as the "unskilled." I test for inefficient rationing by examining whether the reservation wages of employed unskilled workers in states where the 1990-1991 federal minimum wage increase had the largest impact rose relative to reservation wages of unskilled workers in other states. I find that reservation wages of unskilled workers in high-impact states did not rise relative to reservation wages in other states, indicating that the increase in the minimum wage did not cause jobs to be allocated less efficiently.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13012.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13012.

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Date of creation: Apr 2007
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Publication status: published as Luttmer Erzo F.P., 2007. "Does the Minimum Wage Cause Inefficient Rationing?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-42, October.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13012
Note: LS PE
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  2. 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.
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  4. Abowd, John M & Kramarz, Francis & Margolis, David N, 1999. "Minimum Wages and Employment in France and the United States," CEPR Discussion Papers 2159, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  7. Neumark, David & Wascher, William, 2007. "Minimum Wages and Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 2570, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  9. David Card & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1994. "Comment on "Employment effects of minimum and subminimum wages: Panel data on state minimum wage laws," by David Neumark and William Wascher (46:1, Oct. 1992, p. 55)," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(3), pages 487-512, April.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Davis, Lucas W & Kilian, Lutz, 2007. "The Allocative Cost of Price Ceilings: Lessons to be Learned from the US Residential Market for Natural Gas," CEPR Discussion Papers 6142, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 772-93, September.
  14. 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.
  15. Linneman, Peter, 1982. "The Economic Impacts of Minimum Wage Laws: A New Look at an Old Question," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(3), pages 443-69, June.
  16. David Neumark & William L. Wascher, 2008. "Minimum Wages," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262141027, June.
  17. David Card, 1992. "Using Regional Variation in Wages to Measure the Effects of the Federal Minimum Wage," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 22-37, October.
  18. Jones, Stephen R G, 1989. "Reservation Wages and the Cost of Unemployment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 56(222), pages 225-46, May.
  19. Richard V. Burkhauser & Kenneth A. Couch & David C. Wittenburg, 2000. "Who Minimum Wage Increases Bite: An Analysis Using Monthly Data from the SIPP and the CPS," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 67(1), pages 16-40, July.
  20. Deacon, Robert T & Sonstelie, Jon, 1989. "The Welfare Costs of Rationing by Waiting," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 27(2), pages 179-96, April.
  21. Brigitte C. Madrian & Lars John Lefgren, 1999. "A Note on Longitudinally Matching Current Population Survey (CPS) Respondents," NBER Technical Working Papers 0247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Palda, Filip, 2000. "Some deadweight losses from the minimum wage: the cases of full and partial compliance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(6), pages 751-783, November.
  23. Bell, David N.F. & Blanchflower, David G., 2011. "Youth Unemployment in Europe and the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 5673, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  24. Holzer, Harry J & Katz, Lawrence F & Krueger, Alan B, 1991. "Job Queues and Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(3), pages 739-68, August.
  25. David Neumark & William Wascher, 1995. "The Effect of New Jersey's Minimum Wage Increase on Fast-Food Employment: A Re-Evaluation Using Payroll Records," NBER Working Papers 5224, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Feldstein, Martin & Poterba, James, 1984. "Unemployment insurance and reservation wages," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 141-167.
  27. Barzel, Yoram, 1974. "A Theory of Rationing by Waiting," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 73-95, April.
  28. Harry J. Holzer, 1986. "Reservation Wages and Their Labor Market Effects for Black and White Male Youth," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(2), pages 157-177.
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