World Bank learning event - Minimum Wage Policies, Interventions and Impacts

Washington, DC, USA



On May 24-25, 2016 in Washington there was held an event devoted to the minimum wage hosted by the World Bank.
Minimum wages are an important policy instrument with both macroeconomic and microeconomic consequences; and several countries, including China, Mexico, Poland, to name a few, are currently discussing changes to minimum wage policy.  During the two-day learning event organized at the World Bank, experts presented on minimum wages and impacts in OECD countries, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and East Asia.  The discussions included an overview of minimum wage policy in the OECD and their impacts; the ability (or not) of minimum wages to reduce poverty and inequality; the dangers of exclusion of particular groups from participation in (formal) employment; minimum wage in the context of employment protection and contractual forms; the how-to of setting a minimum wage level; and the politics of minimum wage reform.   Piotr Lewandowski contributed to the session on minimum wage in the context of employment protection and contractual forms, by discussing the recent policy proposals on how to expand the minimum wage coverage to non-standard employment forms in Poland.   Several other experts presented during the workshop. Andrea Garnero of the OECD discussed the minimum wage in the context of other policies, particularly tax and social benefit systems. Prof. Tim Gindling of the University of Maryland presented the experience of the application of the minimum wage to fight poverty and income inequality in Latin America. Prof. Haroon Bhorat of the University of Cape Town discussed the use of the minimum wage in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ximena Del Carpio and Laura Pabon from the World Bank presented practical advice for policymakers how to set the minimum wage, and Truman Packard of the World Bank focused on political aspects around the minimum wage.
  • MAY 24 – SESSION 1 | Chair: David Robalino (Manager, Jobs Group)

  • 4:00 – 4:15pm Opening remarks

    Martin Rama (Chief Economist, South Asia Region)

  • 4:15 – 4:20pm Roadmap of the two days

    Roberta Gatti and Ramya Sundaram (Social Protection and Labor)

  • 4:20 - 5:00pm Overview of Minimum Wage Policy – Theory, Policy Objectives and Evidence of Performance in the OECD

    Andrea Garnero (Labor Economist, OECD)

  • 5:00 – 5:20pm Minimum Wage in the Big Picture: Employment Protection and Contractual Forms

    Piotr Lewandowski (Institute for Structural Research, Poland)

  • 5:20 – 5:35pm Discussion

    Erwin Tiongson (Georgetown University)

  • 5:35 – 6:00pm Q&A

  • 6:00 – 6:15pm Closing

    Jesko Hentschel (Country Director, Argentina)

  • MAY 25 – SESSION 2 | Chair: Omar Arias (Lead Practice Economist, Social Protection & Labor)

  • 4:00 – 4:15pm Day 1 Sum-up

    Roberta Gatti (Global Lead, Labor GSP, Social Protection & Labor)

  • 4:15 – 4:35pm Minimum Wage -- A Tool for Reducing Poverty and Inequality?

    Tim Gindling (University of Maryland)

  • 4:35 – 4:55pm Minimum Wage and Dangers of Exclusion: Minimizing Risks of Unemployment

    Haroon Bhorat (University of Cape Town)

  • 4:55 – 5:15pm Q&A

  • MAY 25 – SESSION 3 | Chair: Margaret Grosh (Practice Manager LCR, Social Protection & Labor)

  • 5:30 – 5:50pm Minimum Wage Setting: Balancing Worker Protection While Ensuring Enterprise and Productivity

    Ximena Del Carpio (Program Leader, and Laura Pabon, Consultant, SPLGP)

  • 5:50 – 6:10pm The Politics of Reforming Minimum Wage

    Truman Packard (Lead Economist, Social Protection & Labor)

  • 6:10 – 6:30pm Q&A

all events