[Journal:] Zeitschrift für ArbeitsmarktForschung - Journal for Labour Market Research [ISSN:] 2510-5027 [Volume:] 42 [Year:] 2009 [Issue:] 1 [Pages:] 85-92
The introduction of minimum wages has already been discussed intensively in Germany. This comment is written from the viewpoint of an empirical labor economist. There are two objectives of this paper. First, the paper refers to some aspects of economic theory which have so far not been adequately discussed in the current debate in Germany although they provide important explanatory patterns for key labour market phenomena. The second objective is the discussion of relevant empirical approaches and results. Opponents of a minimum wage and advocates of a moderate minimum wage in Germany offer convincing theoretical arguments for their positions. In contrast, the empirical basis of the debate in Germany is, unfortunately, still very weak. A positive exception is the study by König and Möller (2007). In the light of the current status of the debate, I can not advocate the introduction of a minimum wage, no matter how moderate. However, I think that there are conceivable circumstances under which it would make sense to introduce a moderate minimum wage. The obligation to deliver convincing empirical evidence for the existence of such circumstances has to be delivered by the advocates of the minimum wage.