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Minimum wage: Redistributive or discriminatory policy?

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  • Micheli, Martin

Abstract

The standard model of optimal minimum wage policy in a perfectly competitive labor market suggests that a positive tax rate on minimum wage income is Pareto inefficient. However, most countries with minimum wage legislation exhibit a positive tax rate on minimum wage income. We solve this alleged puzzle by introducing discrimination of individuals that do not contribute to social welfare, typically individuals that do not participate in the political process, into the standard model. If minimum wages serve discriminatory purposes, a positive tax rate on minimum wage income can be compatible with optimal government policy. In the empirical part, we show that the share of inhabitants approving of labor market discrimination against immigrants and against women is positively related to the presence of minimum wage legislation in the respective country.

Suggested Citation

  • Micheli, Martin, 2017. "Minimum wage: Redistributive or discriminatory policy?," Ruhr Economic Papers 706, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:rwirep:706
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    minimum wage; discrimination;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • J78 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Public Policy (including comparable worth)

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