This paper performs a cross-country level analysis on the impact of the level of specific youth minimum wages on the labor market performance of young individuals.
We use information on the use and level of youth minimum wages, as compared to the level of adult minimum wages as well as to the median wage (i.e., the Kaitz index). We complement these data with variables on the employment, labor force participation, and unemployment rates of 5-year age interval categories—all derived from the official OECD database. We distinguish between countries without minimum wages, countries with uniform minimum wages for all age groups, and countries with separate youth and adult minimum wages.
Our results indicate that the relative employment rates of young individuals below the age of 25—as compared to the older workers—in countries with youth minimum wages are close to those in countries without minimum wages at all. Turning to the smaller sample of countries with minimum wages, increases in the level of (youth) minimum wages exert a substantial negative impact on the employment rate for young individuals.
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