DEMS Economics Seminar: Erika Deserranno (Bocconi University and Northwestern University)

Wednesday, November 8 at 12:00pm, DEMS Seminar Room 2104, Buiding U7-2nd floor

Gender Differences in Worker Response to the Minimum Wage


The DEMS Economics Seminar series is proud to host

Erika Deserranno

(Bocconi University and Northwestern University)

with Decio Coviello, Nicola Persico


We study how women and men working in the same minimum-wage supported job respond to, and benefit from, a minimum wage increase. Our workers are employed by a large US retailer, work in many store locations, and are paid based on performance. By means of a border-discontinuity research design, we document that, compared to male workers in the same working conditions, female workers become more productive, and are terminated less often, in response to a minimum wage increase. Consistent with an efficiency wage model where productivity reflects endogenous effort, we find that women respond to a minimum wage increase by working extra hard compared to men when, and only when, their outside option (market wage) is worse. We compute an index of the welfare effect of the minimum wage which, in our calibration, suggests that, caeteris paribus, female workers benefit less than
males from the minimum wage. This paper demonstrates that disparities outside the firm (gender differences in the outside option) beget welfare disparities in the impact of an important gender-neutral policy (i.e., the minimum wage) inside the firm.

The seminar will be in presence, DEMS Seminar Room 2104, Building U7-2nd floor