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Do Minimum Wage Increases Lower the Probability that Low-Skilled Workers Will Receive Fringe Benefits?

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  • Anne Beeson Royalty

Abstract

This paper investigates the effect of minimum wages on the probability that low-skilled workers in the U.S. receive employer health insurance, retirement benefits, and sick leave. Using cross-state variation in state minimum wages to identify minimum wage effects, the paper finds that increases in minimum wages are associated with decreases in the probability that low-skilled workers are eligible for pensions and health insurance, at least at higher levels of the minimum wage. For example, a $0.50 increase in the minimum wage from its 1999 level is estimated to decrease pension eligibility of less educated workers by 6.8 points and their health insurance eligibility by 3.9 points. No effect or small increases in pension and health insurance eligibility are found when the real minimum wage is very low. The reductions in total compensation that occur with large increases in the minimum wage, or even with smaller increases at higher levels of the minimum wage, lower the size of the employment response that would be expected in response to a given increase in the minimum wage. Such reductions clearly also have an impact on worker well-being that offsets, at least to some extent, the gains that individual workers may realize as a result of an increase in the minimum wage.

Suggested Citation

  • Anne Beeson Royalty, 2001. "Do Minimum Wage Increases Lower the Probability that Low-Skilled Workers Will Receive Fringe Benefits?," JCPR Working Papers 222, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:222
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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. Shore-Sheppard, Lara & Buchmueller, Thomas C. & Jensen, Gail A., 2000. "Medicaid and crowding out of private insurance: a re-examination using firm level data," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 61-91, January.
    3. Farber, Henry S. & Levy, Helen, 2000. "Recent trends in employer-sponsored health insurance coverage: are bad jobs getting worse?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 93-119, January.
    4. Lara D. Shore-Sheppard, 2005. "Stemming the Tide? The Effect of Expanding Medicaid Eligibility on Health Insurance," NBER Working Papers 11091, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Abowd, J.M. & Kramarz, F. & Margolis, D.N., 1998. "Minimum Wages and Employment in France and the United States," Papiers du Laboratoire de Microéconomie Appliquée 1998-12, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
    6. David M. Cutler & Jonathan Gruber, 1996. "Does Public Insurance Crowd out Private Insurance?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 391-430.
    7. Harry J. Holzer & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "Job Queues and Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(3), pages 739-768.
    8. Linneman, Peter, 1982. "The Economic Impacts of Minimum Wage Laws: A New Look at an Old Question," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(3), pages 443-469, June.
    9. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
    10. Gruber, Jonathan, 1994. "The Incidence of Mandated Maternity Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 622-641, June.
    11. Janet Currie & Aaron S. Yelowitz, 1999. "Health Insurance and Less Skilled Workers," JCPR Working Papers 63, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kosali Ilayperuma Simon & Robert Kaestner, 2003. "Do Minimum Wages Affect Non-wage Job Attributes? Evidence on Fringe Benefits and Working Conditions," NBER Working Papers 9688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Vit Hradil, "undated". "Does Minimum Wage Affect Workplace Safety?," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp615, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    3. Christina Gibson, 2001. "Privileging the Participant: The Importance of Take-Up Rates In Social Welfare Evaluations," Working Papers 968, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    4. Laura Bucila, 2008. "Employment-Based Health Insurance and the Minimum Wage," Working Papers 0812, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics.
    5. repec:pri:crcwel:wp01-25-gibson is not listed on IDEAS
    6. John Schmitt, 2013. "Why Does the Minimum Wage Have No Discernible Effect on Employment?," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2013-04, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).

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