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Intended and Unintended Impacts of Minimum Wage Change: The Pivotal Role of Migration in the Philippines


  • Deborah Kim Sy

    (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Tokyo, Japan)

  • Nobuhiro Hosoe

    (National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Tokyo, Japan)


Minimum wage is used as a support for low-wage workers, but it is expected to increase unemployment and cause deterioration of the welfare of the unemployed. While earlier studies identify negative side effects of minimum wage, that may not be the case in the Philippines, where many workers migrate and send home large remittances. This study uses a computable general equilibrium model to examine the impacts of an increase in the domestic minimum wage on unemployment, migration, and output, as well as on welfare and inequality, in the Philippines. Our simulation results show that a minimum wage increase would indeed reduce domestic labor demand and prompt many unemployed workers to migrate out, leaving relatively few unemployed at home. While an increased volume of remittances would improve household welfare, it would also have some unintended effects, such as currency appreciation; decreased domestic production in labor-intensive and export-oriented industries; greater income disparity; and tax base erosion.

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  • Deborah Kim Sy & Nobuhiro Hosoe, 2022. "Intended and Unintended Impacts of Minimum Wage Change: The Pivotal Role of Migration in the Philippines," GRIPS Discussion Papers 22-08, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ngi:dpaper:22-08

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Henrik Kleven & Camille Landais & Mathilde Muñoz & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2020. "Taxation and Migration: Evidence and Policy Implications," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 119-142, Spring.
    2. David McKenzie & Caroline Theoharides & Dean Yang, 2014. "Distortions in the International Migrant Labor Market: Evidence from Filipino Migration and Wage Responses to Destination Country Economic Shocks," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 49-75, April.
    3. 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.
    4. Hossain, Sharif M. & Hosoe, Nobuhiro, 2020. "Welfare and equity impacts of cross-border factor mobility in Bangladesh: A general equilibrium analysis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 172-184.
    5. David Card, 1992. "Using Regional Variation in Wages to Measure the Effects of the Federal Minimum Wage," Working Papers 680, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    6. Emmanuel K. K. Lartey & Federico S. Mandelman & Pablo A. Acosta, 2012. "Remittances, Exchange Rate Regimes and the Dutch Disease: A Panel Data Analysis," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 377-395, May.
    7. Gerardo P. Sicat, 2004. "Reforming the Philippine Labor Market," UP School of Economics Discussion Papers 200404, University of the Philippines School of Economics.
    8. Bayangos, Veronica & Jansen, Karel, 2011. "Remittances and Competitiveness: The Case of the Philippines," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 1834-1846.
    9. repec:fth:prinin:300 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. John Schmitt, 2015. "Explaining the Small Employment Effects of the Minimum Wage in the United States," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 547-581, October.
    11. Gerardo P. Sicat, 2004. "Reforming the Philippine Labor Market," Philippine Review of Economics, University of the Philippines School of Economics and Philippine Economic Society, vol. 41(2), pages 1-36, December.
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    More about this item


    Minimum wage; International Migration; Remittances; Income Inequality;
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