Turning a Blind Eye: Costly Enforcement, Credible Commitment and Minimum Wage Laws

26 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2010

See all articles by Arnab K. Basu

Arnab K. Basu

College of William and Mary - Department of Economics

Nancy H. Chau

Cornell University - School of Applied Economics and Management; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Ravi Kanbur

Cornell University; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: 2009-06-29

Abstract

In many countries, non-compliance with minimum wage legislation is widespread and authorities may be seen as having turned a blind eye to legislation they have themselves passed. We show that turning a blind eye can indeed be an equilibrium phenomenon with ex post credibility, in a model of minimum wage policy with imperfect competition, imperfect enforcement and imperfect commitment. Since credible enforcement requires costly ex post transfer of income from employers to workers, a government concerned only with efficiency but not with distribution is shown, paradoxically, to be unable to credibly elicit efficiency improvements via a minimum wage reform.

Suggested Citation

Basu, Arnab K. and Chau, Nancy H. and Kanbur, Ravi, Turning a Blind Eye: Costly Enforcement, Credible Commitment and Minimum Wage Laws (2009-06-29). The Economic Journal, Vol. 120, Issue 543, pp. 244-269, March 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1550482 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0297.2009.02298.x

Arnab K. Basu (Contact Author)

College of William and Mary - Department of Economics ( email )

Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
United States
757-221-1318 (Phone)
757-221-1175 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.wm.edu/akbasu/

Nancy H. Chau

Cornell University - School of Applied Economics and Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-4463 (Phone)
607-255-9984 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Ravi Kanbur

Cornell University ( email )

301-J Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-7966 (Phone)
607-255-9984 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.kanbur.dyson.cornell.edu

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
1
Abstract Views
394
PlumX Metrics