IZA DP No. 12043: The Causal Effects of the Minimum Wage Introduction in Germany: An Overview
forthcoming in: German Economic Review, 2019
In 2015, Germany introduced a statutory hourly minimum wage that was not only universally binding but also set at a relatively high level. We discuss the short-run effects of this new minimum wage on a wide set of socio-economic outcomes, such as employment and working hours, earnings and wage inequality, dependent and self-employment, as well as reservation wages and satisfaction. We also discuss difficulties in the implementation of the minimum wage and the measurement of its effects related to non-compliance and suitability of data sources. Two years after the minimum wage introduction, the following conclusions can be drawn: while hourly wages increased for low-wage earners, some small negative employment effects are also identifiable. The effects on aspired goals, such as poverty and inequality reduction, have not materialized in the short run. Instead, a tendency to reduce working hours is found, which alleviates the desired positive impact on monthly income. Additionally, the level of non-compliance was substantial in the short run, thus drawing attention to problems when implementing such a wide reaching policy.