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The Minimum Wage and Regional Wage Structure: Implications for Income Distribution


  • Oren Levin-Waldman

    (The Jerome Levy Economics Institute)


When the minimum wage was first enacted in 1938, the fiercest opposition came from the South, where wages were considerably lower that in the industrial North. Today, that opposition is found to emanate from states that have right-to-work laws (regardless of location). Using census data from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) for the years 1940 to 1990, this paper looks at workers earning around the minimum wage by region and industry. It shows that, controlling for education and industry type, wages tend to be depressed more in states with right- to-work legislation than in high union density states. These effects on the wage structure have implications for the distribution of income.

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  • Oren Levin-Waldman, 1999. "The Minimum Wage and Regional Wage Structure: Implications for Income Distribution," Macroeconomics 9904004, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:9904004 Note: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; prepared on IBM PC; to print on PostScript; pages: 33; figures: included

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Oren M. Levin-Waldman, 1998. "Exploring the Politics of the Minimum Wage," Macroeconomics 9805010, EconWPA.
    3. David Neumark & William Wascher, 1993. "Employment effects of minimum and subminimum wages: reply to Card, Katz, and Krueger," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 144, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Kosters, Marvin & Welch, Finis, 1972. "The Effects of Minimum Wages on the Distribution of Changes in Aggregate Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(3), pages 323-332, June.
    5. David Neumark & William Wascher, 1992. "Employment Effects of Minimum and Subminimum Wages: Panel Data on State Minimum Wage Laws," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 55-81, October.
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    JEL classification:

    • E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics


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