Minimum Wages, Wages, and Price Pass-Through: The Case of McDonald’s Restaurants

Orley Ashenfelter, Štěpán Jurajda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Based on 2016–20 hourly wage rates of McDonald’s basic crew and Big Mac prices collected simultaneously from almost all US Mc-Donald’s, we find that in 25% of instances of minimum wage increases, restaurants keep constant their wage premium above the increasing minimum wage. Higher minimum wages are not associated with faster adoption of touch-screen ordering, and there is near-full price pass-through of minimum wages. Minimum wage hikes lead to increases in real wages (expressed as how many Big Macs 1 hour of basic crew work can buy) that are one-fifth lower than the corresponding increases in nominal wages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S179-S201
JournalJournal of Labor Economics
Issue numberS1
StatePublished - Apr 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Industrial relations
  • Economics and Econometrics


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