NEWS

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November 9, 2006

Summary of recent minimum wage research

Something tells me voters weren't taking this research into consideration when they voted on hiking up the minimum wage (although they might have and are just skilled laborers rent seeking):

Clearly, no consensus now exists about the overall effects on low-skilled employment of an increase in the minimum wage. However, the oft-stated assertion that this recent research fails to support the traditional view that the minimum wage reduces the employment of low-skilled workers is clearly incorrect. The overwhelming majority of the studies surveyed in this paper give a relatively consistent (although not always statistically significant) indication of negative employment effects of minimum wages. In addition, among the papers we view as providing the most credible evidence, almost all point to negative employment effects. Moreover, the evidence tends to point to disemployment effects of minimum wages in the United States as well as many other countries. Two potentially more important conclusions emerge from our review. First, we see very few - if any - cases where a study provides convincing evidence of positive employment effects of minimum wages, especially from studies that focus on broader groups (rather than a narrow industry) for which the competitive model predicts disemployment effects. Second, when researchers focus on the least-skilled groups most likely to be adversely affected by minimum wages, we regard the evidence as relatively overwhelming that there are stronger disemployment effects for these groups. [Emphasis added]