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Credible Research Designs for Minimum Wage Studies

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  • Allegretto, Sylvia

    () (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Dube, Arindrajit

    () (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

  • Reich, Michael

    () (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Zipperer, Ben

    () (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Abstract

We assess alternative research designs for minimum wage studies. States in the U.S. with larger minimum wage increases differ from others in business cycle severity, increased inequality and polarization, political economy, and regional distribution. The resulting time-varying heterogeneity biases the canonical two-way fixed effects estimator. We consider alternatives including border discontinuity designs, dynamic panel data models, and the synthetic control estimator. Results from four datasets and six approaches all suggest employment effects are small. Covariates are more similar in neighboring counties, and the synthetic control estimator assigns greater weights to nearby donors. These findings also support using local area controls.

Suggested Citation

  • 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).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7638
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    minimum wage; youth employment; border discontinuity; policy evaluation;

    JEL classification:

    • J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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