The contribution of minimum wages to increasing wage inequality

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Abstract:

Recent research has shown the reduction in the minimum wage to be the main cause of the rise in wage dispersion in the lower half of the wage distribution in the US during the 1980s. However, the return to human capital does not seem to have been much affected. Using new methodology this paper confirms previous conclusions regarding the wage distribution but shows that the return to human capital has also increased strongly. A 10% reduction of the minimum wage causes the wage of someone earning the previous minimum to fall by 8%: evidence in favour of a DIstance-Dependent Elasticity of Substitution (DIDES) production function.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-0297.t01-1-00163

Affiliations: Tinbergen Institute/Erasmus University Rotterdam

Publication date: October 1, 2003

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