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The Effect of the Minimum Wage on the Fast Food Industry

  • Lawrence Katz
  • Alan Krueger

Using a longitudinal survey of fast-food restaurants in Texas, the authors examine the impact of recent increases in the federal minimum wage on a low-wage labor market. Less than 5% of fast-food restaurants were using the new youth subminimum wage in July/August 1991, even though the vast majority paid a starting wage below the new hourly minimum wage immediately before it became effective. Although some restaurants increased wages beyond the level needed to comply with higher minimum wages in both 1990 and 1991, those federal minimum wage increases greatly compressed the distribution of starting wages in the Texas fast-food industry. Two findings at variance with conventional predictions are that (1) employment increased more in those firms likely to have been most affected by the 1991 minimum wage increase than in other firms and (2) price changes were unrelated to mandated wage changes.

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File URL: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp013x816m62z
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Paper provided by Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section. in its series Working Papers with number 678.

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Date of creation: Feb 1992
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Handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:dsp013x816m62z
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  1. Charles Brown & Curtis Gilroy & Andrew Kohen, 1981. "Time-Series Evidence of the Effect of the Minimum Wage on Youth Employment and Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 0790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Daniel Sullivan, 1989. "Monopsony Power in the Market for Nurses," NBER Working Papers 3031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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..
  4. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1990. "The Fair Wage-Effort Hypothesis and Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 255-83, May.
  5. Richard B. Freeman & Wayne B. Gray & Casey Ichniowski, 1981. "Low-Cost Student Labor: The Use and Effects of the Subminimum Wage Provisions for Full-time Students," NBER Working Papers 0765, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Krueger, Alan B, 1991. "Ownership, Agency, and Wages: An Examination of Franchising in the Fast Food Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 75-101, February.
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