Minimum Wages and Spatial Equilibrium: Theory and Evidence
This paper introduces a spatial equilibrium model that relates earnings, employment, and internal migration responses to minimum wage increases. Population moves to or away from regions that increase minimum wages depending on the labor demand elasticity and on the financing of unemployment benefits. The empirical evidence shows that increases in minimum wages lead to increases in average wages and decreases in employment among the low-skilled. The labor demand elasticity is estimated to be above 1, in the model a necessary condition for the migration responses observed in the data. Low-skilled workers tend to leave the regions that increase minimum wages.