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The contribution of the minimum wage to US wage inequality over three decades: a reassessment

Autor, David H., Manning, Alan ORCID: 0000-0002-7884-3580 and Smith, Christopher L. (2016) The contribution of the minimum wage to US wage inequality over three decades: a reassessment. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 8 (1). pp. 58-99. ISSN 1945-7782

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Identification Number: 10.1257/app.20140073


We reassess the effect of minimum wages on US earnings inequality using additional decades of data and an IV strategy that addresses potential biases in prior work. We find that the minimum wage reduces inequality in the lower tail of the wage distribution, though by substantially less than previous estimates, suggesting that rising lower-tail inequality after 1980 primarily reflects underlying wage structure changes rather than an unmasking of latent inequality. These wage effects extend to percentiles where the minimum is nominally non‐binding, implying spillovers. We are unable to reject that these spillovers are due to reporting artifacts, however.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2016 American Economic Association
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Sets: Departments > Economics
Collections > United States Collection
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2015 14:27
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2021 02:08

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