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More on Recent Evidence on the Effects of Minimum Wages in the United States

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  • David Neumark
  • J.M. Ian Salas
  • William Wascher

Abstract

A central issue in estimating the employment effects of minimum wages is the appropriate comparison group for states (or other regions) that adopt or increase the minimum wage. In recent research, Dube et al. (2010) and Allegretto et al. (2011) argue that past U.S. research is flawed because it does not restrict comparison areas to those that are geographically proximate and fails to control for changes in low-skill labor markets that are correlated with minimum wage increases. They argue that using "local controls" establishes that higher minimum wages do not reduce employment of less-skilled workers. In Neumark et al. (2014), we present evidence that their methods fail to isolate more reliable identifying information and lead to incorrect conclusions. Moreover, for subsets of treatment groups where the identifying variation they use is supported by the data, the evidence is consistent with past findings of disemployment effects. Allegretto et al. (2013) have challenged our conclusions, continuing the debate regarding some key issues regarding choosing comparison groups for estimating minimum wage effects. We explain these issues and evaluate the evidence. In general, we find little basis for their analyses and conclusions, and argue that the best evidence still points to job loss from minimum wages for very low-skilled workers - in particular, for teens.

Suggested Citation

  • David Neumark & J.M. Ian Salas & William Wascher, 2014. "More on Recent Evidence on the Effects of Minimum Wages in the United States," NBER Working Papers 20619, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20619
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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. 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).
    3. Jonathan Meer & Jeremy West, 2013. "Effects of the Minimum Wage on Employment Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 19262, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Dube, Arindrajit, 2013. "Minimum Wages and Aggregate Job Growth: Causal Effect or Statistical Artifact?," IZA Discussion Papers 7674, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. 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.
    6. Daniel Aaronson & Eric French & Isaac Sorkin, 2013. "Firm Dynamics and the Minimum Wage: A Putty-Clay Approach," Working Paper Series WP-2013-26, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    7. 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.
    8. Aaronson, Daniel & French, Eric Baird & Sorkin, Isaac, 2016. "Industry Dynamics and the Minimum Wage: A Putty-Clay Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 11097, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    1. More on Recent Evidence on the Effects of Minimum Wages in the United States
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2014-12-10 19:21:44

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    Cited by:

    1. Simon Freyaldenhoven & Christian Hansen & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2019. "Pre-event Trends in the Panel Event-Study Design," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(9), pages 3307-3338, September.
    2. Seltzer, Andrew & Borland, Jeff, 2016. "The Impact of the 1896 Factory and Shops Act on Victorian Labour Markets," IZA Discussion Papers 10388, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Guido Blasio & Samuele Poy, 2017. "THE IMPACT OF LOCAL WAGE REGULATION ON EMPLOYMENT: A BORDER ANALYSIS FROM ITALY IN THE 1950s," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(1), pages 48-74, January.
    4. Braun Helge & Döhrn Roland & Krause Michael & Micheli Martin & Schmidt Torsten, 2020. "Macroeconomic Long-Run Effects of the German Minimum Wage when Labor Markets are Frictional," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 240(2-3), pages 351-386, April.
    5. David H. Autor & Alan Manning & Christopher L. Smith, 2016. "The Contribution of the Minimum Wage to US Wage Inequality over Three Decades: A Reassessment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 58-99, January.
    6. José Azar & Emiliano Huet-Vaughn & Ioana Marinescu & Bledi Taska & Till von Wachter, 2019. "Minimum Wage Employment Effects and Labor Market Concentration," NBER Working Papers 26101, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Bossler, Mario & Gürtzgen, Nicole & Lochner, Benjamin & Betzl, Ute & Feist, Lisa & Wegmann, Jakob, 2018. "Auswirkungen des gesetzlichen Mindestlohns auf Betriebe und Unternehmen," IAB-Forschungsbericht 201804, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    8. Robayo,Monica & Terskaya,Anastasia & Koettl-Brodmann,Stefanie, 2020. "Ex-ante Evaluation of the Impact of Increases in Minimum Wages on Labor Market Outcomes in Kosovo," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9357, The World Bank.
    9. David Neumark, 2015. "The effects of minimum wages on employment," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    10. Lavecchia, Adam M., 2020. "Minimum wage policy with optimal taxes and unemployment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 190(C).
    11. Mario Bossler & Michael Oberfichtner & Claus Schnabel, 2020. "Employment Adjustments Following Rises and Reductions in Minimum Wages: New Insights From a Survey Experiment," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 34(3), pages 323-346, September.
    12. Dautovic, Ernest & Hau, Harald & Huang, Yi, 2017. "The Consumption Response to Minimum Wages: Evidence from Chinese Households," CEPR Discussion Papers 12057, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. David Neumark, 2019. "The Econometrics and Economics of the Employment Effects of Minimum Wages: Getting from Known Unknowns to Known Knowns," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 20(3), pages 293-329, August.
    14. Lordan, Grace & Neumark, David, 2018. "People versus machines: The impact of minimum wages on automatable jobs," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 40-53.
    15. Dhaval Dave & Bo Feng & Michael F. Pesko, 2019. "The effects of e‐cigarette minimum legal sale age laws on youth substance use," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(3), pages 419-436, March.
    16. Pestel, Nico & Bonin, Holger & Isphording, Ingo E. & Gregory, Terry & Caliendo, Marco, 2020. "Auswirkungen des gesetzlichen Mindestlohns auf Beschäftigung und Arbeitslosigkeit," IZA Research Reports 95, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Lordan, Grace & Neumark, David, 2017. "People versus machines: the impact of minimum wages on automatable," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 84060, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    18. Roy E. Bailey & Timothy J. Hatton & Kris Inwood, 2016. "Atmospheric Pollution and Child Health in Late Nineteenth Century Britain," CEH Discussion Papers 052, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    19. Riley, Rebecca & Rosazza Bondibene, Chiara, 2017. "Raising the standard: Minimum wages and firm productivity," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 27-50.
    20. David Neumark, 2016. "Policy levers to increase jobs and increase income from work after the Great Recession," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-38, December.
    21. Regmi, Krishna, 2020. "The effect of the minimum wage on children’s cognitive achievement," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    22. Mario Bossler, 2017. "Employment expectations and uncertainties ahead of the new German minimum wage," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 64(4), pages 327-348, September.
    23. Clemens, Jeffrey, 2019. "Making Sense of the Minimum Wage: A Roadmap for Navigating Recent Research," MPRA Paper 94324, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    24. Kevin Rinz & John Voorheis, 2018. "The Distributional Effects of Minimum Wages: Evidence from Linked Survey and Administrative Data," CARRA Working Papers 2018-02, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

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

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