RIETI International Seminar

Minimum Wage and Employment


As wage inequality widens, great interest has grown in the issue of minimum wage policy as a measure to correct economic inequality. While an increase in the minimum wage may contribute to reducing the wage gap, it is also possible that it exacerbates inequality by decreasing job opportunities for low-paid workers. Justification of a higher minimum wage, therefore, is heavily dependent upon whether and how much this change would decrease jobs.

Research on the effects of minimum wage increase on employment is still at a very early stage in Japan, while in the U.S. a considerable body of research has been accumulated in the past two decades, a part of which has become known in Japan. In particular, research by Professors David Card and Alan Krueger, claiming that minimum wage increase does not affect employment, has attracted attention. But these results are only a part of the vast amount of U.S. research on this subject; research that has not been shared in Japanese academia or in the policy community.

It is in this context that RIETI is holding an international seminar on the issue of minimum wage and employment, inviting Professor David Neumark from the University of California, Irvine, author of a survey covering more than 100 articles and the leading scholar on minimum wage. Professor Neumark will present a summary of U.S. research trends spanning the last two decades, and the following roundtable discussion will address issues such as further information and basic research needed for future discussion on Japanese minimum wage policy. The roundtable participants will include Japanese researchers and policymakers.


  • Time and Date:
    15:00-17:00, Friday, November 16, 2007
  • Venue:
    RIETI, 11th Floor, Annex, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), 1-3-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
  • Language:
    English / Japanese (with simultaneous interpretation; only available to the first 40 people)
  • Hosts: Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI)
  • Charge: Free (Registration required in advance)
  • Contact: RIETI
    (Ms.) Chieko Ishihara
    Tel: 03-3501-1375

* Seminar NOT for quotation
* Summary will be published on the RIETI website

Agenda (subject to change)

Chair: TSURU Kotaro (Senior Fellow, RIETI)

15:00 Welcome and opening remarks

FUJITA Masahisa (President & CRO, RIETI)

15:05 Presentation "Minimum Wage and Employment - Research Trends in the U.S."

David NEUMARK (Professor of Economics, University of California, Irvine)

15:50 Comments "Research Trend in Japan"

KAWAGUCHI Daiji (Faculty Fellow, RIETI / Associate Professor, Faculty of Economics, Hitotsubashi University)

16:00 Discussion roundtable

16:55 Concluding remarks

FUJITA Masahisa (President & CRO, RIETI)

Roundtable Participants

  • ABE Yukiko (Associate Professor, Graduate School of Economics and Business Administration, Hokkaido University)
  • ARIGA Ken (Professor, Institute of Economic Research, Kyoto University)
  • USUI Emiko (Associate Professor, School of Economics, Nagoya University)
  • OMORI Yoshiaki (Professor, Faculty of Economics, Yokohama National University)
  • OWAN Hideo (Professor, Graduate School of International Management, Aoyama Gakuin University)
  • KAMBAYASHI Ryo (Associate Professor, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University)
  • KENJOH Eiko (Associate Professor, Faculty of Economics, Asia University)
  • SASAKI Masaru (Associate Professor, Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University)
  • TAMADA Keiko (Associate Professor, Faculty of Economics, Fukuoka University)
  • OHKAWA Tatsuo (Deputy Director, Economy and Society Policy Office, Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau, METI)
  • TONE Masaki (Deputy Director, Business Start-up and Alliance Promotion Division, Business Support Department, Small and Medium Enterprise Agency, METI)