Exploring the Politics of the Minimum Wage
AbstractAs much as the minimum wage is an economic issue, it is above all a political one. First, there are the politics surrounding the choice of models. Second, there are the political interests of those who engage in the debate. The choice of methodological models can lead to different ideological positions which ultimately get played out in the political arena. This paper specifically examines the debate between two models -- the "demand constrained" v. the "supply constrained" -- and the ideological implications that flow from each. After which, it addresses itself to the question of why it is that one particular model has become the political focus of the debate at the expense of others. Because good data on the minimum wage has been so lacking the issue has been ripe for political manipulation. This is most evident in those states with "right-to-work" laws. An examination of voting patterns by members of Congress shows that while Democratic members generally vote for minimum wage increases, they consistently vote against them when they are from "right-to-work" states. Conversely, while Republican members generally vote against increases in the wage, they tend to vote for them when they come from states with high union densities. What this suggests, then, is that given the fact that empirical data on the effects of the minimum wage have been ambiguous at best, it is more likely that the minimum wage will increase when there is strong political support for it. Or at the very least, it is more likely to increase when strong political arguments can be made on its behalf.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by EconWPA in its series Macroeconomics with number 9805010.
Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 28 May 1998
Date of revision:
Note: Type of Document - Acrobat File; prepared on IBM PC ; to print on PostScript; pages: 37; figures: included
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://18.104.22.168
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-1998-10-02 (All new papers)
- NEP-PBE-1998-10-02 (Public Economics)
- NEP-PKE-1998-10-05 (Post Keynesian Economics)
- NEP-POL-1998-10-02 (Positive Political Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Brown, Charles, 1988. "Minimum Wage Laws: Are They Overrated?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 133-45, Summer.
- Robert J. Gordon, 1998.
"Is There a Tradeoff between Unemployment and Productivity Growth?,"
NBER Working Papers
5081, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gordon, Robert J, 1995. "Is There a Trade-off between Unemployment and Productivity Growth?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1159, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Katz, L.F. & Krueger, A.B., 1992.
"The Effect of the Minimum Wage on the Fast Food Industry,"
Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers
1584, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1992. "The effect of the minimum wage on the fast-food industry," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 6-21, October.
- Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1992. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on the Fast Food Industry," NBER Working Papers 3997, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lawrence Katz & Alan Krueger, 1992. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on the Fast Food Industry," Working Papers 678, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
- Richard V. Burkhauser & T. Aldrich Finegan, 1989. "The minimum wage and the poor: The end of a relationship," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(1), pages 53-71.
- Rees, Albert, 1989. "The Economics of Trade Unions," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226707105.
- 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.
- repec:fth:prinin:298 is not listed on IDEAS
- Robert H. Meyer & David A. Wise, 1982.
"The Effects of the Minimum Wage on the Employment and Earnings of Youth,"
NBER Working Papers
0849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Meyer, Robert H & Wise, David A, 1983. "The Effects of the Minimum Wage on the Employment and Earnings of Youth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 66-100, January.
- Alida Castillo Freeman & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Minimum Wages in Puerto Rico: Textbook Case of a Wage Floor?," NBER Working Papers 3759, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Epstein, Gil S & Nitzan, Shmuel, 1999.
"The Endogenous Determination of Minimum Wage,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
2319, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Oren Levin-Waldman, 1999. "The Minimum Wage and Regional Wage Structure: Implications for Income Distribution," Macroeconomics 9904004, EconWPA.
- Oren M. Levin-Waldman, 1998. "State Type and Congressional Voting on the Minimum Wage," Macroeconomics 9808007, EconWPA, revised 01 Sep 1998.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.