August 2014

IZA DP No. 8418: Deserving Poor and the Desirability of a Minimum Wage

This paper provides a novel justification for using a minimum wage to supplement an optimal tax-and-transfer system. We demonstrate that if labor supply decisions are concentrated along the intensive margin and employment is efficiently rationed, a minimum wage can be socially beneficial by serving as a screening device that targets benefits to the deserving poor. We also show that with a minimum wage in place, a negative marginal tax rate may not be optimal.