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Full wages, part-time employment and the minimum wage

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The economic effects of the minimum wage have become increasingly ambiguous. Historically, economists have asserted that increases in the minimum wage result in increases in unemployment. This relationship has been challenged recently by Card and Krueger, Katz and Krueger, and Card. These authors have provided empirical evidence that seems to indicate that there is no relationship between various economic variables (such as level of employment, and product price, among others) and the minimum wage. In addition, these authors have not provided a cogent presentation of the effects of the minimum wage on part-time employment. This study examines, from a theoretical standpoint, the effects of the minimum wage on employment. Furthermore, we emphasize the distinction between money wages and full wages; and the role that part-time employmentplays in the analysis. After incorporating these factors into a theoretical presentation, we provide empirical evidence by way of an OLS regression. We conclude that firms respond to increases in the minimum wage by altering the level of part-time employment. By doing this, firms are able to absorb the minimum wage increase because part timers receive fewer fringe benefits.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 1996

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