Saturday, December 13, 2014

13/12/2014: CESIfo on Minimum Wage Effects in Germany

An interesting research note from Germany's CESIfo institute on the effects of minimum wage law change. The note, titled "Minimum Wage: German Firms Plan Price Increases, Staff Cuts and Reductions in Working Hours" is available (in German) here:

Basically, on January 1, 2015 Germany will implement a Federal minimum wage of EUR8.50/hour (see background here:

CESIfo undertook a survey of employers' expectations as to hiring and labour utilisation / demand changes expected following its introduction. The key point to note is that these are expectations reported by surveyed businesses, not the actual responses.

Per CESIfo German companies that will be affected by the minimum wage as of 1 January 2015 are planning to

  • Increase their prices (26 percent)
  • Reduce bonuses (23 percent), 
  • Reduce payrolls (22 percent), 
  • Reduce working hours (18 percent), and 
  • Scale back investment activity (16 percent). 

Furthermore, "most companies are planning to implement a combination of these measures, and only 43 percent of the firms affected plan not to react at all… eastern German companies will be far more deeply affected than their western German counterparts by a ratio of 43 percent to 24 percent."

By sector, the impact is distributed as follows:

  • "Service providers, and especially those in the catering and hotel industry, mainly intend to respond by increasing prices (31 percent)."
  • "In retailing, responses to the minimum wage were primarily cited as staff cuts (29 percent) and shorter working hours (33 percent)."
  • "In manufacturing, staff cuts (26 percent) ranked just above reductions in bonuses (23 percent) and raising prices (23 percent)."
So may be we'll see an uptick in German inflation in early 2015... to the delight of the ECB and the detriment of all of us reliant on its low interest rates... But it will be inflation of a different nature...

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