Minimum Wage

minimum wage, lowest wage legally permitted in an industry or in a government or other organization. The goal in establishing minimum wages has been to assure wage earners a standard of living above the lowest permitted by health and decency. The minimum has been set by labor unions through collective bargaining, by arbitration, by board action, and, finally, by legislation. Introduced (1894) in New Zealand through compulsory arbitration, it has become part of the social legislation of many countries. Although federal minimum-wage laws were at first held unconstitutional in the United States, a strong fight by organized labor for enactment culminated in the passage (1938) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which set minimum wages at $.25 per hour for workers engaged in interstate commerce (with some exceptions); the act also set up industry committees to recommend rates for every industry. In 1950 the minimum wage was raised to $.75 per hour. Thereafter, it was raised several times (for example, in 1956 to $1.00, in 1963 to $1.25, and in 1968 to $1.60). In 1974, Congress passed a bill providing for a gradual increase from the prevailing $1.60 per hour to $2.30 per hour by 1976. The bill also extended minimum-wage rules to some 8 million workers not previously covered, including state and local government employees, most domestic workers, and some employees of chain stores. Additional increases raised the minimum wage to $3.10 per hour (1980), $4.25 (1991), and $5.15 (1997). Legislation passed in 2007 raised the minimum wage, in three stages, to $7.25 in 2009. Since 1989 businesses earning less than $500,000 annually have not been subject to minimum-wage rules. A number of states have minimun wages that are higher than the federal minimum wage. See also wages.

See S. Richardson, The Minimum Wage (1927); G. F. Starr, Minimum Wage Fixing: An International Review of Practices and Problems (1981); S. Rottenberg, The Economics of Legal Minimum Wages (1982).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Minimum Wage: Selected full-text books and articles

The Effectiveness of Minimum-Wage Increases in Reducing Poverty: Past, Present, and Future By Burkhauser, Richard V.; Sabia, Joseph J Contemporary Economic Policy, Vol. 25, No. 2, April 2007
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Do Minimum Wage Increases Cause Inflation? Evidence from Vietnam By Cuong, Nguyen Viet Journal of Southeast Asian Economies, Vol. 28, No. 3, December 2011
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
State Minimum Wage Differences: Economic Factors or Political Inclinations? By Ford, William F.; Minor, Travis; Owens, Mark Business Economics, Vol. 47, No. 1, January 2012
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Flsa and the Minimum Wage: Employee Friend or Foe By Sullivan, Laura; Robertson, Tommy J.; Brown, Diana B Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues, Vol. 14, No. 1, January 1, 2011
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Still Evidence-Based? the Role of Policy Evaluation in Recession and Beyond: The Case of the National Minimum Wage By Butcher, Tim National Institute Economic Review, No. 219, January 2012
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Case for the Living Wage By Jerold L. Waltman Algora, 2004
Economic Evolution and Revolution in Historical Time By Paul W. Rhode; Joshua L. Rosenbloom; David F. Weiman Stanford Economics and Finance, 2011
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 15 "The Unexpected Long-Run Impact of the Minimum Wage: An Educational Cascade"
The Economics of Imperfect Labor Markets By Tito Boeri; Jan Van Ours Princeton University Press, 2008
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Minimum Wages"
Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age By Larry M. Bartels Princeton University Press, 2008
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "The Eroding Minimum Wage"
Living Wage Movements: Global Perspectives By Deborah M. Figart Routledge, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 12 "Minimum Wages and Living Wages: Raising Incomes by Mandating Wage Floors"
The Minimum Wage: Consequences for Prices and Quantities in Low-Wage Labor Markets By Wolfson, Paul; Belman, Dale Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Vol. 22, No. 3, July 2004
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Looking for a topic idea? Use Questia's Topic Generator
Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.