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The Redistributive Effects of a Minimum Wage Increase in New Zealand: A Microsimulation Analysis

Nazila Alinaghi (), John Creedy and Norman Gemmell ()

Australian Economic Review, 2020, vol. 53, issue 4, 517-538

Abstract: This paper examines the potential effects on inequality and poverty of a minimum wage increase, based on a microsimulation model that captures the details of household composition and the income tax and welfare benefit system and allows for labour supply responses. Results suggest that, largely due to the composition of household incomes, a policy of increasing the minimum wage has a relatively small effect on the inequality of income per adult equivalent person, and a money metric utility measure, using several inequality indices. Hence, the minimum wage policy does not appear to be particularly well targeted, largely due to many low wage earners being secondary earners in higher income households, while many low income households have no wage earners at all. These results are reinforced when allowing for wage spillovers further up the wage distribution. Nevertheless, a minimum wage increase can have a more substantial effect on some poverty measures for sole parents in employment.

Date: 2020
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