Employment Effects of Introducing a Minimum Wage: The Case of Germany
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.
Capital Account Liberalisation Does Worsen Income Inequality
IWH Discussion Papers,
This study examines the relationship between capital account liberalisation and income inequality. Adopting a novel identification strategy, namely a difference-in-difference estimation combined with propensity score matching between the liberalised and closed countries, we provide robust evidence that opening the capital account is associated with an adverse impact on income inequality in developing countries. The main findings are threefold. First, fully liberalising the capital account is associated with a small rise of 0.07-0.30 standard deviations in the Gini coefficient in the short-run and a rise as large as 0.32-0.62 standard deviations in the ten years after liberalisation, on average. Second, widening income inequality is the outcome of the growing income share of the rich at the cost of the poor. The long-term effect of capital account liberalisation includes a reduction in the income share of the poorest half by 2.66-3.79 percentage points and an increase in the income share of the richest 10% by 5.19-8.76 percentage points. Third, the directions and categories of capital account liberalisation matter. Inward capital account liberalisation is more detrimental to income equality than outward capital account liberalisation, and free access to the international equity market exacerbates income inequality the most, while foreign direct investment has an insignificant impact on inequality.
Foreign Bank Ownership and Income Inequality: Empirical Evidence
Using country-level panel data over 1995–2013 on within-country income inequality and foreign bank presence, this paper establishes a positive relation between the two, running from higher foreign bank presence to income inequality. Given that foreign bank participation increased by 62% over the period 1995 to 2013, our baseline results imply a 5.8% increase in the Gini coefficient on average over this period, ceteris paribus. These results are robust to the inclusion of country and year fixed effects and to the use of restrictions on foreign bank entry in the host countries as an instrumental variable. We show that this positive effect is channelled through the lack of greenfield entry and the associated lower levels of competition.
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Wirtschaft im Wandel
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HIP, RIP, and the Robustness of Empirical Earnings Processes
The dispersion of individual returns to experience, often referred to as heterogeneity of income profiles (HIP), is a key parameter in empirical human capital models, in studies of life‐cycle income inequality, and in heterogeneous agent models of life‐cycle labor market dynamics. It is commonly estimated from age variation in the covariance structure of earnings. In this study, I show that this approach is invalid and tends to deliver estimates of HIP that are biased upward. The reason is that any age variation in covariance structures can be rationalized by age‐dependent heteroscedasticity in the distribution of earnings shocks. Once one models such age effects flexibly the remaining identifying variation for HIP is the shape of the tails of lag profiles. Credible estimation of HIP thus imposes strong demands on the data since one requires many earnings observations per individual and a low rate of sample attrition. To investigate empirically whether the bias in estimates of HIP from omitting age effects is quantitatively important, I thus rely on administrative data from Germany on quarterly earnings that follow workers from labor market entry until 27 years into their career. To strengthen external validity, I focus my analysis on an education group that displays a covariance structure with qualitatively similar properties like its North American counterpart. I find that a HIP model with age effects in transitory, persistent and permanent shocks fits the covariance structure almost perfectly and delivers small and insignificant estimates for the HIP component. In sharp contrast, once I estimate a standard HIP model without age‐effects the estimated slope heterogeneity increases by a factor of thirteen and becomes highly significant, with a dramatic deterioration of model fit. I reach the same conclusions from estimating the two models on a different covariance structure and from conducting a Monte Carlo analysis, suggesting that my quantitative results are not an artifact of one particular sample.
Innovation and Top Income Inequality
The Review of Economic Studies,
In this article, we use cross-state panel and cross-U.S. commuting-zone data to look at the relationship between innovation, top income inequality and social mobility. We find positive correlations between measures of innovation and top income inequality. We also show that the correlations between innovation and broad measures of inequality are not significant. Next, using instrumental variable analysis, we argue that these correlations at least partly reflect a causality from innovation to top income shares. Finally, we show that innovation, particularly by new entrants, is positively associated with social mobility, but less so in local areas with more intense lobbying activities.
IWH at 2020 ASSA Annual Meeting in San Diego
IWH at 2020 ASSA Annual Meeting in San Diego Next year’s 2020 ASSA Annual Meeting...
Poverty in EU Countries
Wirtschaft im Wandel,
The contribution provides an overview of several poverty measures in European countries. These measures are recommended by the so-called Laeken criteria and include, among others, the level of poverty income, the Gini coefficient as a measure of inequality of the income distribution as well as the 90/10- and the 80/20-ratio of the income distribution to shed light on the relation of the income shares in the extreme tails of the distribution. Compared over the years 2000 and 2008, the results indicate an increase in poverty in Europe over time, with Germany being located in the middle of the selected countries. Relative poverty is most severe in the new EU member states such as Romania, Bulgaria, and Latvia.