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Journal article
Minimum wages and firm profitability
Mirko Draca, Stephen Machin and John Van Reenen
January 2011

American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 3(1), 2011
DOI: 10.1257/app.3.1.129

JEL Classification: J31;J38;L25

Tags: wage level; structure

We study the impact of minimum wages on firm profitability, exploiting the changes induced by the introduction of a UK national minimum wage in 1999. We use pre-policy information on the distribution of wages to implement a difference-in-differences approach. Minimum wages raise wages, but also significantly reduce profitability (especially in industries with relatively high market power). This is consistent with a simple model where wage gains from minimum wages map directly into profit reductions. There is some suggestive evidence of longer run adjustment to the minimum wage through falls in net entry rates.

DOI: 10.1257/app.3.1.129