Journal of Labor Research

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 75-97

First online:

The Effects of Minimum Wage Increases on Retail Employment and Hours: New Evidence from Monthly CPS Data

  • Joseph J. SabiaAffiliated withDepartment of Public Administration and Policy, School of Public Affairs, American University Email author 

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Proponents of state and federal minimum wage increases argue that past minimum wage hikes have not adversely affected retail employment. However, the existing empirical evidence is mixed. This study uses monthly data from the 1979–2004 Current Population Survey to provide new estimates of the effect of minimum wage increases on retail employment and hours worked. The findings suggest evidence of modest adverse effects. A 10% increase in the minimum wage is associated with a 1% decline in retail trade employment and usual weekly hours worked. Larger negative employment and hours effects are observed for the least experienced workers in the retail sector. These results are robust across a number of specifications, but are sensitive to controls for state time trends.


Minimum wage Employment Retail trade