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最低工資的爭論(四) – 最低工資與經濟理論並沒有衡突

這個星期在獨媒和基文會花了很多時間討論最低工資的問題﹐除了迫自己思考這個觸動社會神經的問題外﹐還學懂了不少經濟學的基本知識。要思考要記錄下來的已差不多寫完﹐我認為最低工資的問題已經有很明確的答案。剩下來要做的事情﹐只是指出其他人錯誤﹐改正他們在理論上或數字計算上的問題。反對最低工資的人﹐常常引用經濟學理論﹐去證明最低工資會引失業率上升。支持最低工資的人﹐雖然沒有什麼嚴緊的推理﹐但是憑直覺認為最低工資可以幫助窮人。我在尋找最低工資的研究時﹐發現了經濟學人的這份報告﹐可以整合正反雙方的論點﹐原來兩者其實係沒有衡突的。

Quote from The Economist Feb 1st 2001 “Debating the Minimum Wage”
that the minimum-wage increase left the overall number of workers employed roughly the same, but reduced their hours. (Not implausible, given that most workers in the fast-food business are part-timers.) Then it would be true that the wage rise reduced the demand for (hours of) labour, as the standard model says; but at the same time it could also be true, as advocates of the minimum wage say, that the incomes of the affected workers went up, thanks to the combination of fewer hours at work and the higher wage rate. In which case the policy could be judged a success, even though it had “reduced employment”.

簡單來說﹐最低工資的結果﹐將會是工資上升﹐工時需求下降﹐但就業人數大致不變。經濟理論指出工資上升﹐工作的需求會下降﹐只不過下降的不是工人需求的數目﹐而是工時需求的數目。 換一句話說﹐最低工資逼工人增加工作效率﹐去補償工資上升帶來的開支。不論是最低工資的支持者還是反對者﹐大家圍著就業人數這個數字原地打轉。工作需求除了可以用人頭來計數﹐還可以有其他的計算方法﹐如工時需求啊﹗

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