IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/wop/wispod/1214-00.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Interpreting Minimum Wage Effects on Wage Distributions: A Cautionary Tale

Author

Listed:
  • C. J. Flinn

Abstract

It is tempting to try to infer the welfare effects of minimum wage changes from empirical observations on pre- and post change employment and unemployment levels and wage or earnings distributions. Using a simple model of search, matching, and bargaining, I characterize the relationship between minimum wage levels, labor market outcomes, and the welfare of labor market participants. Using observations on wage distributions before and after changes in the nominal minimum wage, I determine what can and cannot be learned about welfare impacts from changes in various features of these distributions. Results are illustrated using simulation exercises and a small empirical example. Using U.S. data for young labor market participants in March 1997 and March 1998, this study concludes that the increase in the minimum wage which occurred in September 1997 may have been welfare-enhancing, though various implications of the model are not consistent with the data. This analysis illustrates the fact that well-specified behavioral models are required to evaluate the impact of changes in institutional constraints on the welfare of labor market participants.

Suggested Citation

  • C. J. Flinn, "undated". "Interpreting Minimum Wage Effects on Wage Distributions: A Cautionary Tale," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1214-00, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:wispod:1214-00
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.irp.wisc.edu/publications/dps/pdfs/dp121400.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bontemps, Christian & Robin, Jean-Marc & van den Berg, Gerard J, 2000. "Equilibrium Search with Continuous Productivity Dispersion: Theory and Nonparametric Estimation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(2), pages 305-358, May.
    2. Dickens, Richard & Machin, Stephen & Manning, Alan, 1998. "Estimating the effect of minimum wages on employment from the distribution of wages: A critical view," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 109-134, June.
    3. Dale T. Mortensen, 1988. "Equilibrium Wage Distrihutions: A Synthesis," Discussion Papers 811, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    4. Flinn, Christopher J, 1997. "Equilibrium Wage and Dismissal Processes," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(2), pages 221-236, April.
    5. Janet Currie & Bruce C. Fallick, 1996. "The Minimum Wage and the Employment of Youth Evidence from the NLSY," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(2), pages 404-428.
    6. Flinn, Christopher J, 1986. "Wages and Job Mobility of Young Workers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 88-110, June.
    7. Meyer, Robert H & Wise, David A, 1983. "Discontinuous Distributions and Missing Persons: The Minimum Wage and Unemployed Youth," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1677-1698, November.
    8. Bontemps, Christian & Robin, Jean-Marc & Van den Berg, Gerard J, 1999. "An Empirical Equilibrium Job Search Model with Search on the Job and Heterogeneous Workers and Firms," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1039-1074, November.
    9. Flinn, Christopher, 2003. "Minimum Wage Effects on Labor Market Outcomes under Search with Bargaining," IZA Discussion Papers 949, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. 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.
    11. Meyer, Robert H & Wise, David A, 1983. "The Effects of the Minimum Wage on the Employment and Earnings of Youth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 66-100, January.
    12. Neumark, David & Wascher, William, 1995. "Minimum-Wage Effects on School and Work Transitions of Teenagers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 244-249, May.
    13. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-273, May.
    14. Flinn, C. & Heckman, J., 1982. "New methods for analyzing structural models of labor force dynamics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 115-168, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory

    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:wop:wispod:1214-00. 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: (Thomas Krichel). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/iruwius.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 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.

    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.