Economics and the Supreme Court: The Case of the Minimum Wage
In the United States, laissez-faire has been the policy advocated in good times, while social legislation has been called for during crises. One instance of this dichotomy concerns the transformation of the American understanding of minimum wage laws during the early 20th century. During this time, the view of minimum wage laws changed from one that viewed such laws as theft, to one that saw such laws as being required for distributional justness. We examine the legal-historical debate concerning whether the Supreme Court renounced its policy of laissez-faire individualism in its 1937 ruling finding the minimum wage law constitutional, arguing that it did not. We investigate the free market standard that the Court used to find minimum wage laws unconstitutional in 1923. We demonstrate how the economic conditions of the Depression, coupled with the development of economic theory, explain how the Court eventually found the minimum wage law constitutional.
If 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.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 69 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/RRSE20|
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.tandfonline.com/pricing/journal/RRSE20|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:69:y:2011:i:2:p:189-210. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael McNulty)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.