Do Minimum Wage Laws Affect Those Who Are Not Covered? Evidence From Agricultural and Non-Agricultural Workers
Fan M, Pena AA, "Do Minimum Wage Laws Affect Those Who Are Not Covered? Evidence From Agricultural and Non-Agricultural Workers", 2019
44 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2020
Date Written: March 5, 2019
Some employers are not obligated to pay at least minimum wages to all employees. U.S. farm employers comprise one of these groups. Employees of large farms and H-2A workers (lawfully admitted, nonimmigrant workers performing temporary or seasonal agricultural work) are protected by minimum wage legislation, while some migrant workers (often those paid piece rates) are exempt. U.S. agriculture also is characterized by a large percentage of unauthorized workers who may or may not earn above minimum wage. Following insights from dual labor market theory and from theories of the signaling capacity of the minimum wage, we compare labor market outcomes in the agricultural sector (where minimum wage coverage is limited) to low wage/skill non-agricultural sectors (where minimum wage coverage is more complete) nationally using data from the Current Population Survey. We then extend our analysis to a detailed state-level case study of agricultural workers in California using a representative survey of employed farm workers. Results suggest wage increases for covered workers that exceed those for uncovered workers, but insignificant differences in hours worked. This is the first study to our knowledge to examine the impacts of minimum wage coverage on agricultural workers relative to other workers for the U.S.
Keywords: Minimum Wage, Hourly Wage, Coverage, Low-Skill Workers, Agriculture, Labor Market
JEL Classification: I32, J33, Q12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation