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A living wage: example of a price floor

The graph shows how a price floor results from an excess supply of labor.
The original equilibrium in this labor market is a wage of $10/hour and a quantity of 1,200 workers, shown at point E. Imposing a wage floor at $12/hour leads to an excess supply of labor. At that wage, the quantity of labor supplied is 1,600 and the quantity of labor demanded is only 700.
Living wage: example of a price floor
Wage Quantity Labor Demanded Quantity Labor Supplied
$8/hr 1,900 500
$9/hr 1,500 900
$10/hr 1,200 1,200
$11/hr 900 1,400
$12/hr 700 1,600
$13/hr 500 1,800
$14/hr 400 1,900

The minimum wage as an example of a price floor

The U.S. minimum wage is a price floor that is set either very close to the equilibrium wage or even slightly below it. About 1% of American workers are actually paid the minimum wage. In other words, the vast majority of the U.S. labor force has its wages determined in the labor market, not as a result of the government price floor. But for workers with low skills and little experience, like those without a high school diploma or teenagers, the minimum wage is quite important. In many cities, the federal minimum wage is apparently below the market price for unskilled labor, because employers offer more than the minimum wage to checkout clerks and other low-skill workers without any government prodding.

Economists have attempted to estimate how much the minimum wage reduces the quantity demanded of low-skill labor. A typical result of such studies is that a 10% increase in the minimum wage would decrease the hiring of unskilled workers by 1 to 2%, which seems a relatively small reduction. In fact, some studies have even found no effect of a higher minimum wage on employment at certain times and places—although these studies are controversial.

Let’s suppose that the minimum wage lies just slightly below the equilibrium wage level. Wages could fluctuate according to market forces above this price floor, but they would not be allowed to move beneath the floor. In this situation, the price floor minimum wage is said to be nonbinding —that is, the price floor is not determining the market outcome. Even if the minimum wage moves just a little higher, it will still have no effect on the quantity of employment in the economy, as long as it remains below the equilibrium wage. Even if the minimum wage is increased by enough so that it rises slightly above the equilibrium wage and becomes binding, there will be only a small excess supply gap between the quantity demanded and quantity supplied.

These insights help to explain why U.S. minimum wage laws have historically had only a small impact on employment. Since the minimum wage has typically been set close to the equilibrium wage for low-skill labor and sometimes even below it, it has not had a large effect in creating an excess supply of labor. However, if the minimum wage were increased dramatically—say, if it were doubled to match the living wages that some U.S. cities have considered—then its impact on reducing the quantity demanded of employment would be far greater. The following Clear It Up feature describes in greater detail some of the arguments for and against changes to minimum wage.

What’s the harm in raising the minimum wage?

Because of the law of demand, a higher required wage will reduce the amount of low-skill employment either in terms of employees or in terms of work hours. Although there is controversy over the numbers, let’s say for the sake of the argument that a 10% rise in the minimum wage will reduce the employment of low-skill workers by 2%. Does this outcome mean that raising the minimum wage by 10% is bad public policy? Not necessarily.

If 98% of those receiving the minimum wage have a pay increase of 10%, but 2% of those receiving the minimum wage lose their jobs, are the gains for society as a whole greater than the losses? The answer is not clear, because job losses, even for a small group, may cause more pain than modest income gains for others. For one thing, we need to consider which minimum wage workers are losing their jobs. If the 2% of minimum wage workers who lose their jobs are struggling to support families, that is one thing. If those who lose their job are high school students picking up spending money over summer vacation, that is something else.

Another complexity is that many minimum wage workers do not work full-time for an entire year. Imagine a minimum wage worker who holds different part-time jobs for a few months at a time, with bouts of unemployment in between. The worker in this situation receives the 10% raise in the minimum wage when working, but also ends up working 2% fewer hours during the year because the higher minimum wage reduces how much employers want people to work. Overall, this worker’s income would rise because the 10% pay raise would more than offset the 2% fewer hours worked.

Of course, these arguments do not prove that raising the minimum wage is necessarily a good idea either. There may well be other, better public policy options for helping low-wage workers. (The Poverty and Economic Inequality chapter discusses some possibilities.) The lesson from this maze of minimum wage arguments is that complex social problems rarely have simple answers. Even those who agree on how a proposed economic policy affects quantity demanded and quantity supplied may still disagree on whether the policy is a good idea.

Concepts and summary

In the labor market, households are on the supply side of the market and firms are on the demand side. In the market for financial capital, households and firms can be on either side of the market: they are suppliers of financial capital when they save or make financial investments, and demanders of financial capital when they borrow or receive financial investments.

In the demand and supply analysis of labor markets, the price can be measured by the annual salary or hourly wage received. The quantity of labor can be measured in various ways, like number of workers or the number of hours worked.

Factors that can shift the demand curve for labor include: a change in the quantity demanded of the product that the labor produces; a change in the production process that uses more or less labor; and a change in government policy that affects the quantity of labor that firms wish to hire at a given wage. Demand can also increase or decrease (shift) in response to: workers’ level of education and training, technology, the number of companies, and availability and price of other inputs.

The main factors that can shift the supply curve for labor are: how desirable a job appears to workers relative to the alternatives, government policy that either restricts or encourages the quantity of workers trained for the job, the number of workers in the economy, and required education.

Problems

Identify each of the following as involving either demand or supply. Draw a circular flow diagram and label the flows A through F. (Some choices can be on both sides of the goods market.)

  1. Households in the labor market
  2. Firms in the goods market
  3. Firms in the financial market
  4. Households in the goods market
  5. Firms in the labor market
  6. Households in the financial market
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Predict how each of the following events will raise or lower the equilibrium wage and quantity of coal miners in West Virginia. In each case, sketch a demand and supply diagram to illustrate your answer.

  1. The price of oil rises.
  2. New coal-mining equipment is invented that is cheap and requires few workers to run.
  3. Several major companies that do not mine coal open factories in West Virginia, offering a lot of well-paid jobs.
  4. Government imposes costly new regulations to make coal-mining a safer job.
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References

American Community Survey. 2012. "School Enrollment and Work Status: 2011." Accessed April 13, 2015. http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/acsbr11-14.pdf.

National Center for Educational Statistics. “Digest of Education Statistics.” (2008 and 2010). Accessed December 11, 2013. nces.ed.gov.

Questions & Answers

start a new proponda of ECONOMIC ALLIANCES YOU are Ready
Javid Reply
start a new conversation
Madhu Reply
may anyone guide me how the financial market is linked to economics? in detail? and in simple language?
Gopal Reply
economics is all about money matter .where we use money has medium of exchange.
Madhu
Economics means optimim utilization of related factors which can be measured only by time and money
Rakesh
can anyone suggest how to put questions here?
Gopal Reply
Go on any topic for example perface
Rakesh
Then go at last and write in new conversation
Rakesh
why demand and supply equal
Ashitosh Reply
Demand equal to supply coz if supply more then price less and if price less then demand more also opposite​
Rakesh
M i right ?
Rakesh
if supply will be more then the demand, then price will fall down. same with the demand. if the demand is high, then price of the product will rise.. and equilibrium happens when both supply and demand are at equal level.
Gopal
ok thanks
Gopal
if supply is more we can store it . when the food scricty will not occur...
Madhu
and also there is group called fci(food coupration of India.)whenever there is food sacricty this council will provide food for needy people.
Madhu
If supply more then no any want to store because price will be less
Rakesh
Also can not store some products such as electricity.. Milk.. Fruits and vegetables and network
Rakesh
what is the scope of being an economist?
sheraz Reply
what is the scope of economics?
sheraz
Economies of scope is a term that refers to the reduction of per-unit costs through the production of a wider variety of goods or services.
Cette
good
Kranti
great
sheraz
but Cette I meant something else...
sheraz
I mean where can an economist find a job? I mean in which fields?
sheraz
u can work as research analyst and business consultant.
Gopal
market research analyst i mean to say.. u can find jobs in such as Deloitte, KPMG, JP morgan, or any other market research company. u can find it on google by just typing market research companies in your country
Gopal
U can decide to print amount of money .. Can decide the budget and can understand share market .. Means jobs anywhere to understand market trends means companies are going to long term benefits with social welfare with maximum utilization of related factors
Rakesh
Does trade war effect world economy growth?
Yes,it does
Madhu
yh it will
Cette
yup
sheraz
Yes it will create more problems to economy like food sacricty. and it affects towards production and loss through our national income or GDP.
Madhu
what is the difference between explicit cost and implicit cost
ustaz Reply
explicit cost:it is the cost which company made for purchasing or hiring resources from the factor owner. implicit cost : the cost of the owner of the company pay for the project.
دولت
explicit cost is that cost which is identified by the books of accounts of an organisation
Amulya
implicit cost is that cost which is not shown in the books of accounts but due to this cost organisation gets some benefits
Amulya
what is supply
Motunrayo
The willing and able to sells their goods in various price of a commodity is called supply.
Niraj
what are the laws of supply
Motunrayo
what is lonrenzo curve
osidele
What is price elasticity of demand?
Kanishka Reply
price elasticity of demand is a measure used in economics to show elasticity of quantity demanded of good or service to get a change in it's price while nothing but price changes.
Madhu
Price elasticity of demand is a measure of the change in the quantity demanded of a product in relation to its price change Price elasticity of demand = % change in quantity demand / % change in Price
Gaurav
Pls where can I found PRICE CONTROL on this app
Samuel Reply
top left corner
JUDE
A situation in an economy with one producer but many consumers
Kabali Reply
What is the theory of population according to Malthus?
Kabali
What is the Malthusian population theory?
Kabali
The Malthusian theory of population state that, where there are means of substinence like food, human beings have the tendency to procreate (ie.give birth) without restraint (ie. control).
George
he stated that population unchecked grows at a geometric progression ie 1,2,4,8,16 while the means food subsistence grows at arithmetic progression ie 1,2,3,4,5---- he declared that population has the tendency to outstrip the means of subsistence
Fung
What is money?
Kabali
money is any commodity that act as a medium of exchange
Fung
money is medium of exchange which is use in taking goods and giving some of it's worth or money value
Madhu
what is a debit card and a credit card?
Milly
a debit card is a payment card used instead of cash while purchasing
Madhu
a credit card is a payment card issued to users to enable cardholder to pay a merchant for goods and services
Madhu
oky tanx
Milly
good
ABDUL
What is an inferior good.?
Kabali
In economics, an inferior good is a good whose demand decreases when consumer income rises (or demand rises when consumer income decreases), 
Rams
in that case scarcity of food will occur
Madhu
what is monopoly
Richmond Reply
a market situation when there is only one seller of a product representing whole industry.
how
where one business is the dominant one in that market. It determines the market price as they are price makers. No entry, no competition.
karl
it is a market situation where is a single seller and many buyer hear the seller is the price maker the is no free entering and exit in this market
Fung
A situation in the economy where there is one producer and many consumers
Kabali
A market situation where there is one producer and many consumers.
Kabali
Balance of payments for 2018
Mahlatse Reply
what is monopoly and what is monopolaist
Javid Reply
what is the affect of rise in value of dollar ?
Shabana
monopoly"a single firm or company owns all or nearly all of the market for a given type of product or service "monopoly is a price maker ...barrier of entry ,non availability of close substitute.
Shabana
monopolistic competition or market is a situation where there are few or many firm producing identical but differentiated product .eg difference in advertisement ,packing etc
Shabana
monopolistic competition or market is a situation where there are few or many firm producing identical but differentiated product .eg difference in advertisement ,packing
jay
monopoly is a market situation ...where there is a single seller and large number of buyers deals with commodities having no close substitutes......here the sellers are price makers... there is restrictions in the entry and exit of new firms in this market structure....
lovely
what is money?
Hilary
money is a medium of exchange.....through which...commodities are bought and sold
lovely
money is a medium/means of exchange that generally accepted by law
Prince
What is tranfer earnings
Admire
what is savings income?
Limitles
transfer earning is the minimum income that a factor is willing to accept in an occupation,it is also call the supply price of a factor
Fung
what is envelope curve
Dharam
what is depreciation
Fung
depreciation means decrease in value of a assets due to normal wear or year ,means decrease in value of assets like a machine due to its daily use
ru
Refers to wear and tear of capital machinery
apule
what is meant by currency depreciation?
Shabana
an envelope curve is also call an umbrella curve it is any curve that is enclosed by being tangen t to a series of other curves
Fung
fall in the value of currency vis-a-vis any other currency usually $ due to marker forces is called currency depreciation. it is different from devaluation where in value of currency is deliberately reduced to improve BoT
mohammad
depreciation in its broad sense means loss in the value of fixed capital say a tractor due to i) normal wear and tear ii) normal rate of accidental damage iii) expected absolescence to meet this, Depereciation Reserve Fund is created it is calculated by firms on the basis of their experience.
mohammad
what is green revolution ?discuss the achievement of green revolution in India
Sweety Reply
green revolution is the third revolution of agricultural refers to a set of research and development of technology transfer initiative occuring between 1930s and the late 1960s that increased agricultural is called green revolution
Javid
the green revolution happened because to improve the agricultural sector towards adopting mordern methods and improvement of agricultural equipments
Madhu
green revolution means new innovation for high yielding varieties seeds towards economic development in agriculture sector. started in 1966, it's achievement increase per productive of all crops ie rice, wheat,maiz,etc...mainly 131 million food grain in 1978-79 produced in india
Rams
Punjab and haryana was the first 2 states which have been successfully adopted hyv's and due to this adoption these two states find more successfull in india and it contributed though our national income and also to GDP growth this helps in development of our nation.
Madhu

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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