Critical review of the enactment of the minimum wage on poverty alleviation in Hong Kong since 2011

  • Man Yu NGAN

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (Lingnan)


The academic discussion on the minimum wage law's effect is controversial and continuous. Given that Hong Kong is one of the free economies worldwide with the most competitive labour market, it is one of the best natural laboratories for testing how minimum wage law influences the labour market.

This study aims to answer four important research questions:1.What are the effects of statutory minimum wage legislation and its adjustment level?2.Which groups of employees will mostly benefit or suffer, and to what extent?3.Can Hong Kong’s minimum wage law achieve its policy goal of reducing poverty?4.How could Hong Kong’s minimum wage policy re-enter the government’s policy agenda?

In sum, the first of the four research questions asks the effect of statutory minimum wage legislation and the extent to which it has been adjusted. Under my research, the answer is that minimum wage law has, to a greater extent, no positive or negative effect on unemployment.

The second research question asks which groups of employees benefited and which suffered. The answer is that elderly and youth benefit the most, and no particular group of employees could suffer from implementing the minimum wage law.

The third research question is whether a minimum wage law can reduce poverty in Hong Kong. The answer is that Hong Kong’s minimum wage law cannot improve income distribution nor reduce poverty.

The last research question considers how Hong Kong’s minimum wage policy could re-enter the government’s policy agenda. Applying Kingdon’s multiple stream framework has indicated that the policy window for change is open, and the minimum wage policy should change.
Date of Award6 Sept 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Lingnan University
SupervisorKa Ho Joshua MOK (Supervisor)

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