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Revisiting the Minimum Wage-Employment Debate: Throwing Out the Baby with the Bathwater?

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Author Info

  • Neumark, David

    ()
    (University of California, Irvine)

  • Salas, J.M. Ian

    ()
    (University of California, Irvine)

  • Wascher, William

    ()
    (Federal Reserve Board)

Abstract

We revisit the minimum wage-employment debate, which is as old as the Department of Labor. In particular, we assess new studies claiming that the standard panel data approach used in much of the "new minimum wage research" is flawed because it fails to account for spatial heterogeneity. These new studies use research designs intended to control for this heterogeneity and conclude that minimum wages in the United States have not reduced employment. We explore the ability of these research designs to isolate reliable identifying information and test the untested assumptions in this new research about the construction of better control groups. Our evidence points to serious problems with these research designs. We conclude that the evidence still shows that minimum wages pose a tradeoff of higher wages for some against job losses for others, and that policymakers need to bear this tradeoff in mind when making decisions about increasing the minimum wage.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7166.

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Length: 60 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7166

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Keywords: minimum wage; employment; control groups;

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References

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  1. Addison, John T. & Blackburn, McKinley L. & Cotti, Chad D., 2011. "Minimum Wage Increases in a Soft U.S. Economy," Economics Series 273, Institute for Advanced Studies.
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  3. David Card, 1992. "Using Regional Variation in Wages to Measure the Effects of the Federal Minimum Wage," Working Papers 680, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  4. Arindrajit Dube & T. William Lester & Michael Reich, 2010. "Minimum Wage Effects Across State Borders: Estimates Using Contiguous Counties," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 945-964, November.
  5. David Neumark & William L. Wascher, 2008. "Minimum Wages," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262141027, December.
  6. John T. Addison & McKinley L. Blackburn & Chad D. Cotti, 2008. "The Effect of Minimum Wages on Labor Market Outcomes: County-Level Estimates from the Restaurant-and-Bar Sector," Working Paper Series, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis 02-08, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, revised Jan 2008.
  7. John M. Peterson, 1959. "Employment effects of state minimum wages for women: Three historical cases re-examined," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 12(3), pages 406-422, April.
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  9. Joseph J. Sabia & Richard V. Burkhauser & Benjamin Hansen, 2012. "Are the Effects of Minimum Wage Increases Always Small? New Evidence from a Case Study of New York State," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 65(2), pages 350-376, April.
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  13. Jeffrey P. Thompson, 2009. "Using Local Labor Market Data to Re-Examine the Employment Effects of the Minimum Wage," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 62(3), pages 343-366, April.
  14. David Neumark & DMark Schweitzer & DaWilliam Wascher, 2004. "Minimum Wage Effects throughout the Wage Distribution," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  15. David Fairris & Leon Fernandez Bujanda, 2008. "The Dissipation of Minimum Wage Gains for Workers through Labor-Labor Substitution: Evidence from the Los Angeles Living Wage Ordinance," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 473-496, October.
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  18. David Neumark & William Wascher, 1992. "Employment effects of minimum and subminimum wages: Panel data on state minimum wage laws," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 55-81, October.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Dube, Arindrajit & Lester, T. William & Reich, Michael, 2013. "Minimum Wage Shocks, Employment Flows and Labor Market Frictions," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley qt27z0006g, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  2. Orrenius, Pia M. & Zavodny, Madeline, 2014. "How do e-verify mandates affect unauthorized immigrant workers?," Working Papers 1403, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  3. Andrea Garnero & Stephan Kampelmann & François Rycx, 2013. "Sharp Teeth or Empty Mouths? Revisiting the Minimum Wage Bite with Sectoral Data," DULBEA Working Papers 13-05, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  4. Alexander Muravyev & Aleksey Oshchepkov, 2013. "Minimum wages and labor market outcomes: evidence from the emerging economy of Russia," HSE Working papers WP BRP 29/EC/2013, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  5. Addison, John T. & Blackburn, McKinley L. & Cotti, Chad D., 2013. "Minimum wage increases in a recessionary environment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 30-39.
  6. Allegretto, Sylvia A., 2013. "Waiting for Change: Is it Time to Increase the $2.13 Subminimum Wage?," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley qt3zx9v0zk, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  7. Muravyev, Alexander & Oshchepkov, Aleksey, 2013. "Minimum Wages, Unemployment and Informality: Evidence from Panel Data on Russian Regions," IZA Discussion Papers 7878, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Boysen-Hogrefe, Jens & Gern, Klaus-Jürgen & Jannsen, Nils & Plödt, Martin & van Roye, Björn & Scheide, Joachim & Schwarzmüller, Tim & Groll, Dominik & Kooths, Stefan, 2013. "Weltkonjunktur und deutsche Konjunktur im Sommer 2013," Kiel Discussion Papers 524/525, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  9. Allegretto, Sylvia & Dube, Arindrajit & Reich, Michael & Zipperer, Ben, 2013. "Credible Research Designs for Minimum Wage Studies," IZA Discussion Papers 7638, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Neumark, David & Thompson, Matthew & Koyle, Leslie, 2012. "The Effects of Living Wage Laws on Low-Wage Workers and Low-Income Families: What Do We Know Now?," IZA Discussion Papers 7114, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Philipp vom Berge & Hanna Frings & Alfredo R. Paloyo, 2013. "High-Impact Minimum Wages and Heterogeneous Regions," Ruhr Economic Papers, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen 0408, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  12. Addison, John T. & Blackburn, McKinley L. & Cotti, Chad, 2014. "On the Robustness of Minimum Wage Effects: Geographically-Disparate Trends and Job Growth Equations," IZA Discussion Papers 8420, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Dube, Arindrajit, 2013. "Minimum Wages and Aggregate Job Growth: Causal Effect or Statistical Artifact?," IZA Discussion Papers 7674, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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