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Wage and employment effects of non-binding minimum wages


  • Dittrich, Marcus
  • Knabe, Andreas


Common wisdom holds that the introduction of a non-binding minimum wage is irrelevant for actual wages and employment. Empirical and experimental research, however, has shown that the introduction of a minimum wage can raise even those wages that were already above the new minimum wage. In this paper, we analyze how these findings can be explained by theoretical wage bargaining models between unions and firms. While the Nash bargaining solution is unaffected by minimum wages below initially bargained wages, we show that such minimum wages can drive up wages - and be harmful to employment - when bargaining follows the Kalai-Smorodinsky solution.

Suggested Citation

  • Dittrich, Marcus & Knabe, Andreas, 2010. "Wage and employment effects of non-binding minimum wages," Discussion Papers 2010/15, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:fubsbe:201015

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1992. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on the Fast-Food Industry," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 6-21, October.
    2. Oswald, Andrew J, 1985. " The Economic Theory of Trade Unions: An Introductory Survey," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 87(2), pages 160-193.
    3. McDonald, Ian M & Solow, Robert M, 1981. "Wage Bargaining and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 896-908, December.
    4. Dickens, Richard & Alan Manning, 2003. "The Impact of the National Minimum Wage on the Wage Distribution in a Low-Wage Sector," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 60, Royal Economic Society.
    5. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Christian Zehnder, "undated". "The Behavioral Effects of Minimum Wages," IEW - Working Papers 247, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
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    Cited by:

    1. Elsayyad, May & Konrad, Kai A., 2012. "Fighting multiple tax havens," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 295-305.
    2. Marcus Dittrich & Andreas Knabe & Kristina Leipold, 2011. "Spillover Effects of Minimum Wages: Theory and Experimental Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 3576, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Fahn, Matthias, 2011. "Three Essays on Commitment and Information Problems," Munich Dissertations in Economics 13750, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    4. Pia Rattenhuber, 2014. "Building the minimum wage: the distributional impact of Germany’s first sectoral minimum wage on wages and hours across different wage bargaining regimes," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 46(4), pages 1429-1446, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • J52 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Dispute Resolution: Strikes, Arbitration, and Mediation

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