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Poverty Lecture 10: Why are wages so low?







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Poverty Lecture 10: Why are wages so low?. Today’s Readings Schiller Ch. 5: The Working Poor DeParle, Ch. 6: The Establishment Fails: Washington, 1992-1994 (Optional, Newman, “ Working Lives, ” eReserves, Ehrenreich, “ Serving in Florida, ” eReserves). Today’s topics.
Poverty Lecture 10: Why are wages so low?

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Slide 1

Poverty Lecture 10:Why are wages so low?

Today’s Readings

Schiller Ch. 5: The Working Poor

DeParle, Ch. 6: The Establishment Fails: Washington, 1992-1994

(Optional, Newman, “Working Lives,” eReserves, Ehrenreich, “Serving in Florida,” eReserves)

Slide 2

Today’s topics

  • Why are wages so low?

  • Will raising minimum wages help the poor?

  • Will raising the living wages help the poor?

Slide 3

The working poor: why are wages so low?

  • Wage determination in a perfect market

    • See handout, Graph 1 and Graph 2

    • Firms and workers are price takers

    • Perfect information

    • Perfect mobility

Slide 4

Will raising the minimum wage help the poor?

  • Let’s take a look at the “basic facts”

Slide 5

Basic facts about the minimum wage(As seen by Opponents of increases)

  • Who earns the minimum wage?

    • http://www.epionline.org/index_mw.cfm

      View the Slide show!!!

    • only 2.8% of employees above the age of 30

    • average family income of a minimum wage employee is $44,331.

    • Single parent or single earner in a family with kids account for only 15% of minimum wage earners.

Slide 6

Basic facts about the minimum wage(As seen by Proponents of increases)

  • http://www.epinet.org/content.cfm/issueguides_minwage_minwagefacts

    Print the 3 pages of facts!!!!

  • A minimum wage increase would raise the wages of millions of workers.

    • 14.9 million workers (11% of the workforce)

  • Minimum wage increases benefit working families.

    • Approximately 3.9 million parents with children under 18 would benefit.

Slide 7

Proponents View, cont.

  • Minimum wage increases benefit disadvantaged workers.

    • 59% of beneficiaries are women

    • 14% of working women would benefit directly

    • African Americans represent 11% of the total workforce, but are 16% of workers affected

    • Hispanics represent 14% of the total workforce, but are 19% of workers affected

Slide 8

Proponents View, cont.

  • 38% of the benefits would go to households in the bottom 20% receive only 5% of national income

  • Among families with children and a low-wage worker

    • on average, the minimum wage worker contributes (59%) of the family's earnings.

    • 46% of minimum wage workers contribute 100% of their family's earnings.

  • Southern and Mid-Western states would benefit most.

Slide 9

Proponents View, cont.

  • A minimum wage increase would help reverse the trend of declining real wages for low-wage workers.

  • The inflation-adjusted value of the minimum wage is 30% lower in 2006 than it was in 1979.

    [The source for the next three slides is, Jared Bernstein and Isaac Shapiro, “BUYING POWER OF MINIMUM WAGE AT 51-YEAR LOW,” Economic Policy Institute, http://www.epinet.org/issuebriefs/224/ib224.pdf]

Slide 13

Proponents View, cont.

  • A minimum wage increase is part of a broad strategy to end poverty.

    • Antipoverty effectiveness of the combination of minimum wages and EITC falls when neither is indexed

  • There is no evidence of job loss from the last minimum wage increase.

Slide 14

Where do economists stand on raising the minimum wage?

See:

http://www.epi.org/minwage/epi_minimum_wage_2006.pdf

Slide 15

State minimum wages

  • 29 states have minimum wage rates higher than the federal minimum

  • 15 states set their minimum wage rate at the federal rate

  • 1 states have minimum wage rates less

  • 5 states have no minimum wage laws than the federal rate.

  • Source:http://www.dol.gov/esa/minwage/america.htm

Slide 18

Why do some states raise their minimum wages above the federal level?

  • You tell me

Slide 19

Living wages

  • Basic facts

    • See http://www.epinet.org/content.cfm/issueguides_livingwage_livingwagefacts

    • The living wage level is usually the wage a full-time worker would need to earn to support a family above federal poverty line, ranging from 100% to 130% of the poverty measurement.

    • 71 municipalities have enacted living wage laws to date

Slide 20

Living wage as a solution to poverty

  • Should Notre Dame pursue living wages as a solution to poverty?

    • For the two different sides of the story, see

    • http://www.epionline.org/index_lw.cfm and

    • http://www.epinet.org/content.cfm/issueguides_livingwage_livingwage

    • To see what labor economists think about living wages, see

    • http://www.epionline.org/study_detail.cfm?sid=13&group=lw

Slide 21

Review

  • The remaining slides are a supplemental presentation about the traditional effects of increasing minimum wages on individual labor supply. Be sure to ask if you cannot explain predicted changes in hours worked for increases and decreases in wage rates, and also in nonwage income.

Slide 22

theory of labor force participation for groupsChanges in average wage$

  • How would an decrease in the minimum wage affect the LFPR of poor single mothers? An increase? Explain

    • 1998 $6.31 per hour (2006$)

    • 2006 $5.15 per hour

    • 2007 $7.25 per hour

      Source: Jared Bernstein and Isaac Shapiro, “BUYING POWER OF MINIMUM WAGE AT 51-YEAR LOW,” Economic Policy Institute, http://www.epinet.org/issuebriefs/224/ib224.pdf

Slide 23

Effects of Wage Changes on LFP and Hours Worked

  • Substitution effect

    • %∆L/%∆w

    • If income is held constant, and increase in the wage rate will increase the price of leisure and reduce the amount demanded thereby increasing work incentives.

    • The substitution effect is positive: wages and hours move in the same direction

      • %∆L/%∆w > 0

Slide 24

Wage increase with substitution effect dominating:The observed change

Y

U2

observed change

D

U1

N2

C

N1

A

0 Leisure hours

(maximum work hours)

0 Work Hours

(maximum leisure hours)

Leisure hours (l)

Work hours (L)

Slide 25

Wage increase with substitution effect dominating:The income effect

Y

income effect

U2

D

U1

N3

C

N1

A

0 Leisure hours

(maximum work hours)

0 Work Hours

(maximum leisure hours)

Leisure hours (l)

Work hours (L)

Slide 26

Wage increase with substitution effect dominating:The substitution effect

Y

substitution effect

U2

D

U1

N2

N3

C

A

0 Leisure hours

(maximum work hours)

0 Work Hours

(maximum leisure hours)

Leisure hours (l)

Work hours (L)

Slide 27

Effects of Wage Changes on LFP:Substitution effect cause LF entry

Income (Y)

U3

Raising the wage from the slope of BE to the slope of BC increases hours from 0 to d:

Substitution effect > income effect

U2

C

U1

D

E

B

A

d

0 Leisure hours

(maximum work hours)

0 Work Hours

(maximum leisure hours)

Leisure hours (l)

Work hours (L)


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