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Minimum Wages and Poverty in a Developing Country: Simulations from Indonesia's Household Survey


  • Kelly Bird


  • Chris Manning



This study focuses on the efficiency of minimum wage policy for poverty reduction, taking Indonesia as a case study. A simulation approach assesses who benefits and who pays for minimum wage increases. On the benefits side, the rise in minimum wages boosts incomes in households with low wage workers. However, increases in wage costs are passed on through higher consumer prices. As a result, three out of four poor households lose in net terms, even when we assume no job losses. The findings suggest that minimum wages are unlikely to be an effective antipoverty instrument, at least for Indonesia.

Suggested Citation

  • Kelly Bird & Chris Manning, 2005. "Minimum Wages and Poverty in a Developing Country: Simulations from Indonesia's Household Survey," Departmental Working Papers 2005-09, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:pas:papers:2005-09

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dollar, David & Kraay, Aart, 2002. "Growth Is Good for the Poor," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 195-225, September.
    2. Manning,Chris, 1998. "Indonesian Labour in Transition," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521594127, March.
    3. L. ALAN WINTERS & NEIL McCULLOCH & ANDREW McKAY, 2015. "Trade Liberalization and Poverty: The Evidence So Far," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Non-Tariff Barriers, Regionalism and Poverty Essays in Applied International Trade Analysis, chapter 14, pages 271-314 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    7. Bell, Linda A, 1997. "The Impact of Minimum Wages in Mexico and Colombia," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages 102-135, July.
    8. Asep Suryahadi & Wenefrida Widyanti & Daniel Perwira & Sudarno Sumarto, 2003. "Minimum Wage Policy And Its Impact On Employment In The Urban Formal Sector," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 29-50.
    9. Alatas, Vivi & Cameron, Lisa, 2003. "The impact of minimum wages on employment in a low income country : an evaluation using the difference-differences approach," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2985, The World Bank.
    10. De Fraja, Gianni, 1999. "Minimum Wage Legislation, Productivity and Employment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(264), pages 473-488, November.
    11. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne & Stanger, Shuchita, 1999. "The Highs and Lows of the Minimum Wage Effect: A Time-Series Cross-Section Study of the Canadian Law," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 318-350, April.
    12. David Neumark & William Wascher, 2002. "Do Minimum Wages Fight Poverty?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(3), pages 315-333, July.
    13. Martín Rama, 2001. "The Consequences of Doubling the Minimum Wage: The Case of Indonesia," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(4), pages 864-881, July.
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    15. Burkhauser, Richard V & Couch, Kenneth A & Wittenburg, David C, 2000. "A Reassessment of the New Economics of the Minimum Wage Literature with Monthly Data from the Current Population Survey," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(4), pages 653-680, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pauw, Karl & Leibbrandt, Murray, 2012. "Minimum Wages and Household Poverty: General Equilibrium Macro–Micro Simulations for South Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 771-783.
    2. repec:spr:jlabre:v:38:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s12122-017-9241-z is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Danziger, Leif, 2010. "Endogenous monopsony and the perverse effect of the minimum wage in small firms," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 224-229, January.
    4. Patrick Belser & Uma Rani, 2015. "Minimum wages and inequality," Chapters,in: Labour Markets, Institutions and Inequality, chapter 5, pages 123-146 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Belser, Patrick. & Rani, Uma., 2010. "Extending the coverage of minimum wages in India : simulations from household data," ILO Working Papers 994584553402676, International Labour Organization.
    6. Kenn Ariga, 2016. "Minimum wage through the looking glass," KIER Working Papers 927, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research.
    7. World Bank, 2013. "Minimum Wage Policy : Lessons with a Focus on the ASEAN Region," World Bank Other Operational Studies 16687, The World Bank.
    8. repec:spr:ijlaec:v:60:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s41027-017-0077-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:eee:wdevel:v:102:y:2018:i:c:p:135-157 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Alexandros Karakitsios & Manos Matsaganis, 2018. "Minimum Wage Effects on Poverty and Inequality," DEOS Working Papers 1801, Athens University of Economics and Business.
    11. Sabina Alkire and Suman Seth, 2016. "Identifying Destitution through Linked Subsets of Multidimensionally Poor: An Ordinal Approach," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp099.pdf, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
    12. Armida Alisjahbana & Chris Manning, 2006. "Labour market dimensions of poverty in Indonesia," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(2), pages 235-261.
    13. Rothenberg, Alexander D. & Gaduh, Arya & Burger, Nicholas E. & Chazali, Charina & Tjandraningsih, Indrasari & Radikun, Rini & Sutera, Cole & Weilant, Sarah, 2016. "Rethinking Indonesia’s Informal Sector," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 96-113.
    14. Takahiro Akita & Ni Made Inna Dariwardani, 2013. "Chronic and Transient Poverty in Indonesia: A Spatial Perspective with the 2008-2010 Susenas Panel Data," Working Papers EMS_2013_19, Research Institute, International University of Japan.
    15. Attakrit Leckcivilize, 2015. "Does the minimum wage reduce wage inequality? Evidence from Thailand," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-23, December.
    16. Sergey Kapelyuk, 2015. "The effect of minimum wage on poverty," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 23(2), pages 389-423, April.
    17. Cristián Mardones P., 2014. "Complementarity between flat tax and conditional cash transfers to improve the income distribution in Chile," Journal Economía Chilena (The Chilean Economy), Central Bank of Chile, vol. 17(3), pages 04-27, December.
    18. Saari, M. Yusof & Rahman, M. Affan Abdul & Hassan, Azman & Habibullah, Muzafar Shah, 2016. "Estimating the impact of minimum wages on poverty across ethnic groups in Malaysia," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 490-502.
    19. Kapelyuk Sergey, 2014. "Impact of minimum wage on income distribution and poverty in Russia," EERC Working Paper Series 14/03e, EERC Research Network, Russia and CIS.

    More about this item


    Minimum Wages; Poverty; Income distribution; Indonesia;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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