Optimal Taxation and Monopsonistic Labor Market: Does Monopsony Justify the Minimum Wage?
Does monopsony on the labor market in itself justify the implementation of a minimum wage when it would not be used in a competitive economy? This issue is studied in a model of optimal taxation. We adopt a definition most favorable to the minimum wage: the minimum wage is useful whenever it can replace a non negligible part of the tax schedule. The minimum wage is useful to correct the inefficiencies associated with the monopsony when there is a single skill. But the minimum wage is not useful any more when there are a continuum of skills.
We analyze optimal taxation in an economy with monopsonistic labor markets. The individuals, whose only decisions are whether to work, or not, have heterogeneous productivities and opportunity costs of work. Given its preferences for redistribution, the government, which does not observe the opportunity costs of work, chooses a tax scheme implementing the second best allocation. We compare the optima in the competitive and monopsonistic environments. We find that the government can always implement the second best allocation of the competitive economy in the monopsonistic environment. The optimal tax schedule comprises employment subsidies financed by taxes on profits. In this setup, there is no room for a minimum wage.
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