Economics at your fingertips  

Optimal minimum wage setting in a federal system

Andrew Simon and Matthew Wilson ()

Journal of Urban Economics, 2021, vol. 123, issue C

Abstract: Minimum wages in the United States are jointly set by federal, state, and local governments, while many other countries have a single national policy. This paper studies the relative merits of centralized and decentralized policy setting. A binding policy is optimal if the benefits from redistribution outweigh the costs from migration, which are relatively steeper for local governments. Centralized policy, though uniform in practice, reduces horizontal migration externalities, which improves decentralized minimum wage setting. Our results therefore indicate that decentralized and centralized policy setting exhibit strategic complementarity; the extent of which depends on mobility and regional heterogeneity. We then calibrate a model of the continental US and find that joint policy setting leads to a small welfare gain over centralization, and closely resembles the social planner’s optimal policies.

Keywords: Minimum wage; Optimal taxation; Decentralization; Federalism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

DOI: 10.1016/j.jue.2021.103336

Access Statistics for this article

Journal of Urban Economics is currently edited by S.S. Rosenthal and W.C. Strange

More articles in Journal of Urban Economics from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Catherine Liu ().

Page updated 2023-11-09
Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:123:y:2021:i:c:s0094119021000188