IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Labor market and income effects of a legal minimum wage in Germany


  • Müller, Kai-Uwe
  • Steiner, Viktor


In view of rising wage and income inequality, the introduction of a legal minimum wage has recently become an important policy issue in Germany. We analyze the distributional effects of a nationwide legal minimum wage of 7.50 € per hour on the basis of a microsimulation model which accounts for the complex interactions between individual wages, the tax-benefit system and net household incomes, also taking into account potential employment effects as well as indirect effects on consumption. Simulation results show that the minimum wage would be rather ineffective in raising net household incomes and reducing income inequality, even if it led to a substantial increase in hourly wages at the bottom of the wage distribution. The ineffectiveness of a minimum wage in Germany is mainly due to the existing system of means-tested income support and the position of minimum wage earners in the income distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Müller, Kai-Uwe & Steiner, Viktor, 2010. "Labor market and income effects of a legal minimum wage in Germany," Discussion Papers 2010/11, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:fubsbe:201011

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Boadway, Robin & Keen, Michael, 1993. "Public Goods, Self-Selection and Optimal Income Taxation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(3), pages 463-478, August.
    2. Woittiez, Isolde & Kapteyn, Arie, 1998. "Social interactions and habit formation in a model of female labour supply," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 185-205, November.
    3. Koehne, Sebastian & Kuhn, Moritz, 2015. "Optimal taxation in a habit formation economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 31-39.
    4. A. B. Atkinson & N. H. Stern, 1974. "Pigou, Taxation and Public Goods," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(1), pages 119-128.
    5. Jang‐Ting Guo & Alan Krause, 2011. "Optimal Nonlinear Income Taxation with Habit Formation," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 13(3), pages 463-480, June.
    6. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
    7. Clark, Andrew E., 1999. "Are wages habit-forming? evidence from micro data," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 179-200, June.
    8. Arik Levinson, 2013. "Happiness, Behavioral Economics, and Public Policy," NBER Working Papers 19329, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Gaube, Thomas, 2000. "When do distortionary taxes reduce the optimal supply of public goods?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 151-180, May.
    10. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumption and Its Implications for Monetary-Policy Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 367-390, June.
    11. Pollak, Robert A, 1970. "Habit Formation and Dynamic Demand Functions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(4), pages 745-763, Part I Ju.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Hanna Frings, 2013. "The Employment Effect of Industry-Specific, Collectively Bargained Minimum Wages," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 14(3), pages 258-281, August.
    2. Caliendo, Marco & Fedorets, Alexandra & Preuß, Malte & Schröder, Carsten & Wittbrodt, Linda, 2017. "The Short-Run Employment Effects of the German Minimum Wage Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 11190, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Carsten Schröder, 2014. "Kosten und Nutzen von Mindestlöhnen," DIW Roundup: Politik im Fokus 22, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    4. Müller, Kai-Uwe & Steiner, Viktor, 2011. "Beschäftigungswirkungen von Lohnsubventionen und Mindestlöhnen - Zur Reform des Niedriglohnsektors in Deutschland," Discussion Papers 2011/4, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.

    More about this item


    minimum wage; wage distribution; employment effects; income distribution; inequality; microsimulation;

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions


    Access and download statistics


    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:zbw:fubsbe:201011. 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: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.