Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Increase in own state's minimum wage increases frequency with which low-wage workers commute out of the state

Cross-state differences in the minimum wage and out-of-state commuting by low-wage workers. By Terra McKinnish
Regional Science and Urban Economics, Volume 64, May 2017, Pages 137–147

•  The federal minimum wage hike compressed cross-border minimum wage differentials.
•  Low wage workers responded by commuting out of states that increased their minimum wage.
•  Results are consistent with a disemployment effect of minimum wage increases.

Abstract: The 2009 federal minimum wage increase, which compressed cross-state differences in the minimum wage, is used to investigate the claim that low-wage workers are attracted to commute out of state to neighboring states that have higher minimum wages. The analysis focuses on Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMAs) that experience commuting flows with one or more neighboring state. A difference-in-differences-in-differences model compares PUMAs that experienced a sizeable increase or decrease in their cross-border minimum wage differential to those that experience smaller change in the cross-border differential. Out-of-state commuting of low wage workers (less than 10 dollars an hour) is then compared to that of moderate wage workers (10–13 dollars an hour). The results suggest that an increase in own state's minimum wage, relative to neighbor's, increases the frequency with which low-wage workers commute out of the state. The analysis is replicated on the subset of PUMAs that experience commuting flows with more than one neighboring state, so that the estimates are identified entirely within PUMA. As a whole, the results suggest that low-wage workers tend to commute away from minimum wage increases rather than towards them.

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