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Pooling Multiple Case Studies Using Synthetic Controls: An Application to Minimum Wage Policies

Author

Listed:
  • Dube, Arindrajit

    (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

  • Zipperer, Ben

    (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Abstract

We propose a simple, distribution-free method for pooling synthetic control case studies using the mean percentile rank. We also test for heterogeneous treatment effects using the distribution of estimated ranks, which has a known form. We propose a cross-validation based procedure for model selection. Using 29 cases of state minimum wage increases between 1979 and 2013, we find a sizable, positive and statistically significant effect on the average teen wage. We do detect heterogeneity in the wage elasticities, consistent with differential bites in the policy. In contrast, the employment estimates suggest a small constant effect not distinguishable from zero.

Suggested Citation

  • Dube, Arindrajit & Zipperer, Ben, 2015. "Pooling Multiple Case Studies Using Synthetic Controls: An Application to Minimum Wage Policies," IZA Discussion Papers 8944, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8944
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sylvia Allegretto & Arindrajit Dube & Michael Reich & Ben Zipperer, 2017. "Credible Research Designs for Minimum Wage Studies," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 70(3), pages 559-592, May.
    2. 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," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 65(2), pages 350-376, April.
    3. Campos, Nauro F & Coricelli, Fabrizio & Moretti, Luigi, 2014. "Economic Growth and Political Integration: Estimating the Benefits from Membership in the European Union Using the Synthetic Counterfactuals Method," CEPR Discussion Papers 9968, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Andreas Billmeier & Tommaso Nannicini, 2013. "Assessing Economic Liberalization Episodes: A Synthetic Control Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(3), pages 983-1001, July.
    5. Evan Totty, 2017. "The Effect Of Minimum Wages On Employment: A Factor Model Approach," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(4), pages 1712-1737, October.
    6. Jushan Bai, 2009. "Panel Data Models With Interactive Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(4), pages 1229-1279, July.
    7. Abadie, Alberto & Diamond, Alexis & Hainmueller, Jens, 2010. "Synthetic Control Methods for Comparative Case Studies: Estimating the Effect of California’s Tobacco Control Program," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 105(490), pages 493-505.
    8. 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.
    9. David Card, 1992. "Do Minimum Wages Reduce Employment? A Case Study of California, 1987–89," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 38-54, October.
    10. Timothy G. Conley & Christopher R. Taber, 2011. "Inference with "Difference in Differences" with a Small Number of Policy Changes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(1), pages 113-125, February.
    11. Neumark, David & Salas, J.M. Ian & Wascher, William, 2013. "Revisiting the Minimum Wage-Employment Debate: Throwing Out the Baby with the Bathwater?," IZA Discussion Papers 7166, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    synthetic controls; program evaluation; heterogeneous treatment effects; minimum wage;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J88 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Public Policy

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