"Earnings Inequality and the Minimum Wage: Evidence from Brazil"

October 05, 2017


Knox Hall, Room 509 606 W 122nd St NY NY 10027

Event Type: 

Center for Wealth and Inequality (CWI) Seminar Series

Department of Sociology

Speaker: Christian Moser, Columbia University, Business School

Talk Title: "Earnings Inequality and the Minimum Wage: Evidence from Brazil"

Abstract: We quantify the effect of a minimum wage on compression throughout the earnings distribution. Using the case of Brazil, which experienced a large decrease in earnings inequality while its real minimum wage increased from 1996-2012, we document that the inequality decrease was bottom-driven yet widespread, with compression up to the 75th earnings percentile. We develop an equilibrium search model with heterogeneous firms and workers and find that effects of the minimum wage are consistent with the above facts, explaining 70 percent of the observed inequality decrease, with half of the decrease due to spillovers further up the earnings distribution.

Biography: Christian is an Assistant Professor within the Finance and Economics Division at Columbia Business School. His research focuses on macroeconomics and labor economics, with additional interests in public economics. The common theme behind his research is to understand the determinants of earnings inequality and the role of redistributive policies. Before joining Columbia, Christian received a Ph.D. in Economics from Princeton University where he was named a Fellow of Woodrow Wilson Scholars and was awarded the Towbes Prize for Outstanding Teaching. He has attracted external research grants from the Centre for Economic Policy Research and the Department for International Development as well as the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.


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