The Impact of the 1896 Factory and Shops Act on Victorian Labour Markets

46 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2016

See all articles by Andrew Seltzer

Andrew Seltzer

University of London, Royal Holloway College - Department of Economics

Jeff Borland

University of Melbourne - Department of Economics

Abstract

This paper examines the effects of the Victorian Factory and Shops Act, the first minimum wage law in Australia. The Act differed from modern minimum wage laws in that it established Special Boards, which set trade-specific minimum wage schedules. We use trade-level data on average wages, employment, and other outcomes to examine the effects of changes in minimum wages. Although the minimum wages were binding, we find that the effects on employment and other outcomes were modest. We speculate that this was partly because the Special Boards, which were comprised mostly of employers and union officials, followed labour market conditions when setting wages for their trades.

Keywords: minimum wages, Australia, Factory and Shops Act

JEL Classification: J38, N37

Suggested Citation

Seltzer, Andrew and Borland, Jeff, The Impact of the 1896 Factory and Shops Act on Victorian Labour Markets. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10388, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2879795

Andrew Seltzer (Contact Author)

University of London, Royal Holloway College - Department of Economics ( email )

Royal Holloway College
Egham
Surrey, Surrey TW20 0EX
United Kingdom

Jeff Borland

University of Melbourne - Department of Economics ( email )

Victoria 3010, 3010
Australia

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