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Brown bag seminar | Transactional preferences: Ethical consumption and the minimum wage

Anna Becker, Assistant Professor from Stockholm University, will present her working paper exploring the ethical consumption in the context of minimum wage. Join the SITE brown bag seminar at SSE or online via Zoom on Tuesday, 14 February, 12:00-13:00 CET, to learn more!

Transactional preferences: Ethical consumption and the minimum wage

By: Anna Becker, Attila Lindner, Kristóf Madarász and Heather Sarsons.


A growing number of studies suggest that minimum wages have limited disemployment effects while at the same time increasing output prices. This finding contradicts the "law of demand", which states that output demand, and therefore employment, should fall whenever prices increase. We propose a simple framework to explain this fact and to highlight some aspects of ethical consumption more generally. Consumers derive extra utility when engaging in transactions that can be associated with positive moral attributes. In the context of the minimum wage, consumers derive a higher marginal utility when they know that the good they are consuming is produced by a worker earning a higher wage. Combined with firms' inability to credibly commit to higher wages, a mandated minimum wage policy can lead to higher output and positive employment effects simultaneously. We implement an online survey experiment in the U.S. to test the proposed mechanism.

About the speaker

Anna Becker is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Economics at Stockholm University.

Anna's primary research field is Political Economy. She's also interested in Applied Microeconomics and Behavioral Economics. In 2022, she completed her Phd in Economics at the University College London.

Learn more about the speaker >>

Interested in attending the SITE brown bag seminar at SSE or online via Zoom?

The link to the seminar will be distributed by invitation only. If you are interested in attending the seminar – please contact site@hhs.se. Follow the instructions below:

  • Type the subject box with “Brown bag seminar *INSERT SEMINAR TITLE*”
  • Indicate your affiliation and field of interest
  • Please also indicate if you want to attend in person or online

For registered applicants, a Zoom link will be provided prior to the event via email with further instructions.

Photo by Hyejin Kang, Shutterstock.com


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