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Wages and Hours Laws: What Do We Know? What Can Be Done?

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  • Charles C. Brown
  • Daniel S. Hamermesh

Abstract

We summarize recent research on the wage and employment effects of minimum wage laws in the U.S. and infer from non-U.S. studies of hours laws the likely effects of unchanging U.S. hours laws. Minimum wages in the U.S. have increasingly become a province of state governments, with the effective minimum wage now closely related to a state’s wage near the lower end of its wage distribution. Original estimates demonstrate how the 45-year failure to increase the exempt earnings level for salaried workers under U.S. hours laws has raised hours of lower-earning salaried workers and reduced their weekly earnings. The overall conclusion from the literature and the original work is that wages and hours laws in the U.S. have produced impacts in the directions predicted by economic theory, but that these effects have been quite small.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles C. Brown & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2019. "Wages and Hours Laws: What Do We Know? What Can Be Done?," NBER Working Papers 25942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25942
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    1. Wages and Hours Laws: What Do We Know? What Can Be Done?
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2019-08-22 20:32:33

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    Cited by:

    1. Quach, Simon, 2020. "The Labor Market Effects of Expanding Overtime Coverage," MPRA Paper 100613, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy

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