Minimum Wages and Firm Profitability
London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP); Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics
Stephen J. Machin
University College London - Department of Economics; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
John Van Reenen
London School of Economics - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP); Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
NBER Working Paper No. w13996
Although there is a large literature on the economic effects of minimum wages on labour market outcomes (especially employment), there is much less evidence on their impact on firm performance. In this paper we consider a very under-studied area - the impact of minimum wages on firm profitability. The analysis exploits the changes induced by the introduction of a national minimum wage to the UK labour market in 1999, using pre-policy information on the distribution of wages to construct treatment and comparison groups and implement a difference in differences approach. We report evidence showing that firm profitability was significantly reduced (and wages significantly raised) by the minimum wage introduction. This emerges from separate analyses of two distinct types of firm level panel data (one on firms in a very low wage sector, UK residential care homes, and a second on firms across all sectors). We find that net entry rates have fallen, but that the changes in exit and entry rates are statistically insignificant.
working papers series
Date posted: May 16, 2008
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