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published in: Economic Modelling

Employment Effects of Introducing a Minimum Wage: The Case of Germany

This paper contributes to the empirical literature on the employment effects of minimum wages. We analysed the introduction of a statutory minimum wage in Germany in 2015 exploiting cross-sectional variation of the minimum wage affectedness. We construct two variables that measure the affectedness for approximately 300 state-industry combinations based on aggregate monthly income data. The estimation strategy consists of two steps. We test for (unidentified) structural breaks in a model with cross-section specific trends to control for state-industry specific developments prior to 2015. In a second step, we test whether the trend deviations are correlated with the minimum wage affectedness. To identify the minimum wage effect on employment, we assume that the minimum wage introduction is exogenous. Our results point towards a negative effect on marginal employment and a positive effect on socially insured employment. Furthermore, we analyse if the increase in socially insured employment is systematically related to the reduction of marginal employment but do not detect evidence.

24. December 2017

Authors Oliver Holtemöller Felix Pohle

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Employment Effects of Introducing a Minimum Wage: The Case of Germany

Oliver Holtemöller Felix Pohle

in: Economic Modelling, forthcoming

Abstract

Income inequality has been a major concern of economic policy makers for several years. Can minimum wages help to mitigate inequality? In 2015, the German government introduced a nationwide statutory minimum wage to reduce income inequality by improving the labour income of low-wage employees. However, the employment effects of wage increases depend on time and region specific conditions and, hence, they cannot be known in advance. Because negative employment effects may offset the income gains for low-wage employees, it is important to evaluate minimum-wage policies empirically. We estimate the employment effects of the German minimum-wage introduction using panel regressions on the state-industry-level. We find a robust negative effect of the minimum wage on marginal and a robust positive effect on regular employment. In terms of the number of jobs, our results imply a negative overall effect. Hence, low-wage employees who are still employed are better off at the expense of those who have lost their jobs due to the minimum wage.

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