The Effect of Minimum Wages on Immigrants

Posted: 2 Mar 2011

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

Date Written: July 1, 2008

Abstract

This study examines how minimum wage laws affect the employment and earnings of low-skilled immigrants and natives in the United States. Minimum wage increases might have larger effects among low-skilled immigrants than among natives because, on average, immigrants earn less than natives due to lower levels of education, limited English skills, and less social capital. Results based on data from the Current Population Survey for the years 1994-2005 do not indicate that minimum wages had adverse employment effects among adult immigrants or natives who did not complete high school. However, low-skilled immigrants may have been discouraged from settling in states that set wage floors substantially above the federal minimum.

Keywords: immigrants, minimum wage, low-skilled

JEL Classification: J23, J38, J15

Suggested Citation

Orrenius, Pia M. and Zavodny, Madeline, The Effect of Minimum Wages on Immigrants (July 1, 2008). Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 61, No. 4, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1773038

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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