The Living Wage, Economic Efficiency, and Socio-Economic Wellbeing in a Competitive Market Economy
Morris Altman ()
Forum for Social Economics, 2012, vol. 41, issue 2-3, 166-186
Conventional economic wisdom views a Living Wage as costly in term of economic efficiency and competitiveness. I argue, based on x-efficiency theory, that higher wages need not cause any economic harm and can, on the contrary, generate higher levels of material wellbeing. Higher wages can be expected to induce x-efficiency and technological change cost offsets. In this context, an effective living wage, one that is above some subsistence minimum, can have a net efficiency effect on the economy. Therefore, a living wage greater than the wage rate generated by the free market cannot be predicted to generate economic harm. With the institutional parameters in place to realize a living wage, the economic pie can be expected to grow to accommodate the living wage.
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