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The German Minimum Wage and Wage Growth: Heterogeneous Treatment Effects Using Causal Forests

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Patrick Burauel, Carsten Schroeder

SSRN, 2020, 37 S.
(SSRN Papers)


Previous research suggests that minimum wages induce heterogeneous treatment effects on wages across different groups of employees. This research usually defines groups \textit{ex ante}. We analyze to what extent effect heterogeneities can be discerned in a data-driven manner by adapting the generalized random forest implementation of Athey et al (2019) in a difference-in-differences setting. Such a data-driven methodology allows detecting the potentially spurious nature of heterogeneities found in subgroups chosen ex-ante. The 2015 introduction of a minimum wage in Germany is the institutional background, with data of the Socio-economic Panel serving as our empirical basis. Our analysis not only reveals considerable treatment heterogeneities, it also shows that previously documented effect heterogeneities can be explained by interactions of other covariates.

Carsten Schröder

Board of Directors SOEP and Division Head Applied Panel Analysis in the German Socio-Economic Panel study Department

JEL-Classification: J31;G10;G12;J38;C45;C23
Keywords: causal inference, minimum wage, policy evaluation