Between Power and Persuasion: Explaining the Introduction of Statutory Minimum Wage Laws in Britain and Germany

  • J. Timo Weishaupt


In this chapter, I carefully trace the origins (and persistence) of statutory minimum wage (SMW) laws in Britain and Germany. Challenging the conventional application of the power resources approach, whereby a strong left pushes for and a weak right is unable to prevent the introduction of SMWs, I argue that actors on the left and right revoked their opposition against SMWs in large parts based on the persuasive power of normative arguments. More specifically, without downplaying the importance of left-wing power politics, I argue that the right did not grudgingly accept SMWs. Rather, the German Christian Democrats endorsed and celebrated the introduction of the SMW law in 2014 after the ground-work set by the party’s labour wing, which successfully persuaded a large majority of the party’s base about the appropriateness of a minimum wage floor. The Tories, in turn, not only upheld the (previously much disliked) SMW, but introduced a National Living Wage in 2015 as part of David Cameron’s ‘progressive conservative’ and ‘big society’ narratives.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Timo Weishaupt
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Soziologie, University of GöttingenGöttingenGermany

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