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The Rhetorical Evolution of the Minimum Wage

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  • Oren M. Levin-Waldman

Abstract

The concept of the minimum wage has undergone several rhetorical permutations. Originally conceived as a living wage, which would function as a family wage, it ultimately became a matter of macroeconomic policy, the goals of which were to achieve greater efficiency and in some case economic development. In recent years, the rhetoric has narrowed to a debate that pits a youth disemployment effect against assisting the poor. This paper traces the rhetorical evolution of the minimum wage and shows how the rhetoric employed by various groups has been shaped by the specifics of the political and economic environment.

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  • Oren M. Levin-Waldman, 1999. "The Rhetorical Evolution of the Minimum Wage," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_280, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_280
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    1. Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 1997. "Institutional Changes and Rising Wage Inequality: Is There a Linkage?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, pages 75-96.
    2. Seltzer, Andrew J, 1995. "The Political Economy of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1302-1342, December.
    3. Brown, Charles & Gilroy, Curtis & Kohen, Andrew, 1982. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on Employment and Unemployment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 487-528.
    4. Lang, Kevin & Kahn, Shulamit, 1998. "The effect of minimum-wage laws on the distribution of employment: theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 67-82.
    5. Prasch, Robert E., 1998. "American Economists and Minimum Wage Legislation During the Progressive Era: 1912–1923," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, pages 161-175.
    6. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Haroon Bhorat & Tara Caetano & Benjamin Jourdan & Ravi Kanbur & Christopher Rooney & Benjamin Stanwix & Ingrid Woolard, 2016. "Investigating the Feasibility of a National Minimum Wage for South Africa," Working Papers 201601, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.

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