Skip to main content

RWI Positionen #53


Jochen Kluve

Was ist der optimale Mindestlohn?

So hoch wie möglich, so niedrig wie nötig

There are two sides to the debate about the intro-duction of a minimum wage: the Social Democrats (SPD) are calling for a base wage of 8.50 Euro per hour whereas the Union (CDU/CSU) favours the introduction of a Low Pay Commission, with an equal number of employer/employee representatives. Both proposals need improvement. By international standards, an effective German minimum wage of 8.50 Euro would be very high. In order to prevent unemployment from rising, it would be wise to introduce the minimum wage more gradually. With 7.00 Euro per hour, Germany would be average compared to other OECD countries. It is definitely not a good idea to start higher. The idea of introducing a politically independent Low Pay Commission is a step in the right direction. However, just setting up a commission of employer and employee representatives would fall short of the mark. In order to find the optimal minimum wage level it is important to permanently evaluate its effects on the labour market. Researchers should, therefore, participate in the commission, and the continuous evaluation should be laid down in the minimum wage law.