NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
loading...

Understanding "Wage Theft": Evasion and Avoidance Responses to Minimum Wage Increases

Jeffrey Clemens, Michael R. Strain

NBER Working Paper No. 26969
Issued in April 2020
NBER Program(s):Labor Studies, Public Economics

A holistic assessment of the labor market effects of minimum wage regulation requires understanding employer compliance. We investigate how minimum wage increases and the strength of enforcement regimes affect the prevalence of subminimum wage payment. Using the Current Population Survey (CPS), we find strong evidence that higher minimum wages lead to a greater prevalence of subminimum wage payment. We estimate that increases in measured underpayment following minimum wage increases average between 14 and 22 percent of realized wage gains. Furthermore, we provide evidence that these estimates are unlikely to be driven by measurement error in the CPS’s wage data, which are self-reported. Taken together, we interpret these findings as evidence that minimum wage noncompliance is an important reality in the low-wage labor market. We find some evidence that enforcement regimes mediate both baseline rates of subminimum wage payment and the response of subminimum wage payment to increases in minimum wages.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Access to NBER Papers

You are eligible for a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w26969

 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us