The Minimum Wage and Latino Workers

44 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2010

See all articles by Pia M. Orrenius

Pia M. Orrenius

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Madeline Zavodny

University of North Florida; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Agnes Scott College

Abstract

Latinos comprise a large and growing share of the low-skilled labor force in the U.S. and may be disproportionately affected by minimum wage laws as a result. We compare the effects of minimum wage laws on employment and earnings among Hispanic immigrants and natives compared with non-Hispanic whites and blacks. We focus on adults who have not finished high school and on teenagers, groups likely to earn low wages. Conventional economic theory predicts that higher minimum wages lead to higher hourly earnings among people who are employed but lower employment rates. Data from the Current Population Survey during the period 1994-2007 indicate that there is a significant disemployment effect of higher minimum wages on Latino teenagers, although it is smaller for foreign- than native-born Latinos. Adult Latino immigrants' earnings are less affected by minimum wage laws than other low-education natives, and their employment rates appear to increase when the minimum wage rises. We investigate whether skill levels and undocumented status help explain these findings.

Keywords: Latinos, Hispanics, minimum wage, low-skilled, immigrants

JEL Classification: J23, J38, J15

Suggested Citation

Orrenius, Pia M. and Zavodny, Madeline, The Minimum Wage and Latino Workers. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5341, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1720323

Pia M. Orrenius (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas ( email )

PO Box 655906
Dallas, TX 75265-5906
United States
214-922-5747 (Phone)
214-922-5194 (Fax)

Madeline Zavodny

University of North Florida ( email )

4567 St. Johns Bluff Road, South
Jacksonville, FL 32224-2645
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7 / 9
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Agnes Scott College ( email )

United States

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