Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

N. 85 - "Turning a Blind Eye? Compliance to Minimum Wages and Employment" - Andrea Garnero and Claudio Lucifora


In this paper, we explore the relationship between non-compliance with bargained minimum wages and employment. We illustrate the role of labour courts with respect to the Constitutional provision of “fair” wage and sketch a model in which firms choose their desired levels of employment and non-compliance. We show that when employers internalize the expected costs of non-compliance, the effect of deviating from the bargained minimum wages on employment levels are modest, or null. Using data from the Italian LFS, we find evidence of a positive, but small, trade-off between non-compliance and employment. We discuss the policy implications of these findings for wage bargaining, also considering the costs that “turning a blind eye” to non-compliance implies for the Italian system of industrial relations.

JEL codes: J08, J31, J52, J83.
Keywords: Collective bargaining, sectoral minimum wages, compliance.
ISSN 2704-7407