As a starting-point for analysis, this manual draws on the ILO's comprehensive database containing the principal legal provisions and minimum wage fixing mechanisms in 100 countries around the world. The minimum wage has had a long and turbulent history, and this study sheds light on its intricacies by providing a thorough overview of the institutions and practices in different countries. It outlines the main topics for debate concerning the effects of minimum wages on major social and economic variables such as employment, wage inequality, and poverty.
The minimum wage is an economic and social policy tool that is both powerful and flexible and it is used differently in every country. The book considers the various procedures countries use for implementation, including the criteria employed to fix the minimum wage, and how they are linked to specific country objectives. It then measures the efficiency of the minimum wage, and focuses on its impact on employment as a major political issue. For the benefit of non-specialists, the validity of econometric models and their results are examined.
The volume also looks at the relationship between the minimum wage and poverty, and considers two rarely studied issues: the identification of which wage earners are excluded from the scope of the main legislative texts; and the causes of non-application of the legislation.
The ILO database on minimum wages is available at /travdatabase.