IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/28506.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Wages, Minimum Wages, and Price Pass-Through: The Case of McDonald’s Restaurants

Author

Listed:
  • Orley C. Ashenfelter
  • Štěpán Jurajda

Abstract

We use price and wage data from McDonald's restaurants to provide evidence on wage increases, labor-saving technology introduction, and price pass-through by a large low-wage employer facing a flurry of minimum wage hikes from 2016-2020. We estimate an elasticity of hourly wage rates with respect to minimum wages of 0.7. In 40% of instances where minimum wages increase, McDonald's restaurants' wages are near the effective minimum wage level both before and after its increase; however, we also uncover a tendency among a large subset of restaurants to preserve their pay 'premium' above the minimum wage level. We find no association between the adoption of labor-saving touch screen ordering technology and minimum wage hikes. Our data imply that McDonald's restaurants pass through the higher costs of minimum wage increases in the form of higher prices of the Big Mac sandwich. We find a 0.2 price elasticity with respect to wage increases, which implies an elasticity of prices with respect to minimum wages of about 0.14. Based on a listing of all US McDonald's restaurants from 2010 to 2020, we also find no effects of minimum wages on McDonald's restaurant entry and exit.

Suggested Citation

  • Orley C. Ashenfelter & Štěpán Jurajda, 2021. "Wages, Minimum Wages, and Price Pass-Through: The Case of McDonald’s Restaurants," NBER Working Papers 28506, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:28506
    Note: LS
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w28506.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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 772-793, September.
    2. Jacquelyn Pless & Arthur A. van Benthem, 2019. "Pass-Through as a Test for Market Power: An Application to Solar Subsidies," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 367-401, October.
    3. Christopher J. Flinn, 2006. "Minimum Wage Effects on Labor Market Outcomes under Search, Matching, and Endogenous Contact Rates," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(4), pages 1013-1062, July.
    4. Daniel Aaronson & Eric French & Isaac Sorkin & Ted To, 2018. "Industry Dynamics And The Minimum Wage: A Putty†Clay Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 59(1), pages 51-84, February.
    5. DavidC. Parsley & Shang-Jin Wei, 2007. "A Prism into the PPP Puzzles: The Micro-Foundations of Big Mac Real Exchange Rates," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(523), pages 1336-1356, October.
    6. 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(1), pages 167-200.
    7. Emek Basker & Muhammad Taimur Khan, 2016. "Does the Minimum Wage Bite into Fast-Food Prices?," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 129-148, June.
    8. Daniel Aaronson & Brian J Phelan, 2019. "Wage Shocks and the Technological Substitution of Low‐wage Jobs," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 129(617), pages 1-34.
    9. Christos Genakos & Mario Pagliero, 2022. "Competition and Pass-Through: Evidence from Isolated Markets," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 35-57, October.
    10. Harald Hau & Yi Huang & Gewei Wang, 2020. "Firm Response to Competitive Shocks: Evidence from China’s Minimum Wage Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(6), pages 2639-2671.
    11. Daniel Aaronson & Eric French & James MacDonald, 2008. "The Minimum Wage, Restaurant Prices, and Labor Market Structure," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(3), pages 688-720.
    12. Arindrajit Dube & Attila Lindner, 2021. "City Limits: What Do Local-Area Minimum Wages Do?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 27-50, Winter.
    13. Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "Ownership, Agency, and Wages: An Examination of Franchising in the Fast Food Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(1), pages 75-101.
    14. 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.
    15. Thomas MaCurdy, 2015. "How Effective Is the Minimum Wage at Supporting the Poor?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 123(2), pages 497-545.
    16. Bruce E. Kaufman, 2010. "Institutional Economics and the Minimum Wage: Broadening the Theoretical and Policy Debate," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(3), pages 427-453, April.
    17. E. Glen Weyl & Michal Fabinger, 2013. "Pass-Through as an Economic Tool: Principles of Incidence under Imperfect Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 121(3), pages 528-583.
    18. 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.
    19. Stefano DellaVigna & Matthew Gentzkow, 2019. "Uniform Pricing in U.S. Retail Chains," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 134(4), pages 2011-2084.
    20. Brian J. Phelan, 2019. "Hedonic-Based Labor Supply Substitution and the Ripple Effect of Minimum Wages," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(3), pages 905-947.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Drucker, Lev & Mazirov, Katya & Neumark, David, 2021. "Who pays for and who benefits from minimum wage increases? Evidence from Israeli tax data on business owners and workers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 199(C).

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Baek, Jisun & Lee, Changkeun & Park, WooRam, 2021. "The impact of the minimum wage on the characteristics of new establishments: Evidence from South Korea," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).
    2. Emek Basker & Muhammad Taimur Khan, 2016. "Does the Minimum Wage Bite into Fast-Food Prices?," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 129-148, June.
    3. Jeffrey Clemens & Lisa B. Kahn & Jonathan Meer, 2021. "Dropouts Need Not Apply? The Minimum Wage and Skill Upgrading," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(S1), pages 107-149.
    4. Sebastian Link, 2019. "The Price and Employment Response of Firms to the Introduction of Minimum Wages," CESifo Working Paper Series 7575, CESifo.
    5. Link, Sebastian, 2022. "The Price and Employment Response of Firms to the Introduction of Minimum Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 15701, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Isaac Sorkin, 2015. "Are There Long-Run Effects of the Minimum Wage?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(2), pages 306-333, April.
    7. Sudheer Chava & Alexander Oettl & Manpreet Singh, 2019. "Does a One-Size-Fits-All Minimum Wage Cause Financial Stress for Small Businesses?," NBER Working Papers 26523, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Daniel MacDonald & Eric Nilsson, 2016. "The Effects of Increasing the Minimum Wage on Prices: Analyzing the Incidence of Policy Design and Context," Upjohn Working Papers 16-260, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    9. Peter Harasztosi & Attila Lindner, 2019. "Who Pays for the Minimum Wage?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(8), pages 2693-2727, August.
    10. Marianna Kudlyak & Murat Tasci & Didem Tuzemen, 2019. "Minimum Wage Increases and Vacancies," Working Papers 19-30R, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, revised 21 Apr 2022.
    11. Dara Lee Luca & Michael Luca, 2019. "Survival of the Fittest: The Impact of the Minimum Wage on Firm Exit," NBER Working Papers 25806, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Jose Garcia-Louzao & Linas Tarasonis, 2022. "Wage and Employment Impact of Minimum Wage: Evidence from Lithuania," Bank of Lithuania Working Paper Series 103, Bank of Lithuania.
    13. Loukas Karabarbounis & Jeremy Lise & Anusha Nath, 2022. "Minimum Wages and Labor Markets in the Twin Cities," Working Papers 793, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    14. Meer, Jonathan, 2018. "Recent Research on the Minimum Wage: Implications for Missouri," MPRA Paper 93926, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Kong, Dongmin & Qin, Ni & Xiang, Junyi, 2021. "Minimum wage and entrepreneurship: Evidence from China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 189(C), pages 320-336.
    16. Lordan, Grace & Neumark, David, 2018. "People versus machines: The impact of minimum wages on automatable jobs," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 40-53.
    17. Koch, Andreas & Kirchmann, Andrea & Reiner, Marcel & Scheu, Tobias & Zühlke, Anne & Bonin, Holger, 2020. "Verhaltensmuster von Betrieben und Beschäftigten im Kontext des gesetzlichen Mindestlohns," IZA Research Reports 97, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    18. Michael R. Strain & Jeffrey Clemens, 2017. "Estimating the employment effects of recent minimum wage changes: Early evidence, an interpretative framework, and a pre-commitment to future analysis," AEI Economics Working Papers 914893, American Enterprise Institute.
    19. Yamagishi, Atsushi, 2021. "Minimum wages and housing rents: Theory and evidence," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(C).
    20. Jose Garcia-Louzao & Linas Tarasonis, 2022. "Wage and Employment Impact of Minimum Wage: Evidence from Lithuania," Bank of Lithuania Working Paper Series 103, Bank of Lithuania.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:28506. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.