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

(together with Felix Pohle) Economic Modelling 89, 2020, 108-121 (earlier version: IWH Discussion Paper 28/2017)

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.

Full text: Economic Modelling Website and IWH Discussion Paper (pdf)