A controversial study on the effect of a radical rise in the legal minimum wage level came out Tuesday, pitting employers against employees in the midst of negotiations for the next year’s wage standard.
Researchers at the Korea Economic Research Institute analyzed in the study the impact of the 16.4 percent increase in the 2018 wage level on low-income workers to find that many low-paying jobs were erased, while those who were employed enjoyed higher pay. The institute is affiliated with the country’s top business lobby, the Federation of Korean Industries.
The minimum wage is updated on an annual basis, and the rate currently stands at 8,590 won ($7.10) per hour. In 2018, the rate rose 16.4 percent from 6,470 won a year earlier to 7,530 won, the steepest increase in 17 years.
The KERI report said the employment rate in 2018 for workers directed affected by the hike — those who were getting paid less than the 2018 legal wage in 2017 — was as much as 4.6 percentage points lower than other income groups.
Some 15.1 percent of this group were jobless in 2018.
The study calculated that between 27.4 percent and 30.5 percent of the unemployment cases were due to the higher wage level, which prompted employers to cut jobs.
Here is the article. I cannot find this study, it may well only be in Korean (addendum: here is the link in Korean), and I note it is connected to a business lobby. Still, I will take this opportunity to ask: what else do we know about the recent and radical South Korean wage hike?
Here are some general remarks at Wikipedia. And here is a relevant paper about minimum wage hikes in Hungary: small disemployment effects after four years, and most of the burden carried by consumers, which implies the monopsony model does not apply — in that model prices should fall!
And do read Brian Albrecht on the minimum wage.