Are There Long-Run Effects of the Minimum Wage?

Rev Econ Dyn. 2015 Apr 1;18(2):306-333. doi: 10.1016/


An empirical consensus suggests that there are small employment effects of minimum wage increases. This paper argues that these are short-run elasticities. Long-run elasticities, which may differ from short-run elasticities, are policy relevant. This paper develops a dynamic industry equilibrium model of labor demand. The model makes two points. First, long-run regressions have been misinterpreted because even if the short- and long-run employment elasticities differ, standard methods would not detect a difference using US variation. Second, the model offers a reconciliation of the small estimated short-run employment effects with the commonly found pass-through of minimum wage increases to product prices.

Keywords: Labor demand; dynamic models; minimum wages; putty-clay.