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Estimating the Employment Effects of Recent Minimum Wage Changes: Early Evidence, an Interpretative Framework, and a Pre-Commitment to Future Analysis

Listed author(s):
  • Jeffrey Clemens
  • Michael R. Strain

This paper presents early evidence on the employment effects of state minimum wage increases enacted between January 2013 and January 2015, and offers an interpretative framework to understand why it is of interest to study recent changes in isolation. Given the ongoing transitions of many states’ minimum wage rates, we also set the stage for a pre-committed analysis of the minimum wage changes scheduled for coming years. Through 2015, we estimate that employment among young adults and young individuals with less than a completed high school education expanded modestly less quickly in states that enacted one-time or multi-phase statutory minimum wage increases than in states that enacted no minimum wage increases. Across the specifications we implement and the samples we analyze, many of our estimates are statistically indistinguishable from zero. Data on the longer-run effects of this period’s minimum wage changes will be essential for more fully assessing these changes’ effects and for drawing strong conclusions regarding how minimum wage increases affect employment in this decade’s institutional and economic environment. As data become available for the full 2016 through 2019 calendar years, we will execute and report the results of analyses that follow the road map this paper develops.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 23084.

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Date of creation: Jan 2017
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23084
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  1. Jeffrey Clemens, 2015. "The Minimum Wage and the Great Recession: Evidence from the Current Population Survey," NBER Working Papers 21830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Manning, Alan, 2011. "Imperfect Competition in the Labor Market," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
  3. 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.
  4. David Neumark & J. M. Ian Salas & William Wascher, 2014. "Revisiting the Minimum Wage—Employment Debate: Throwing Out the Baby with the Bathwater?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 67(3_suppl), pages 608-648, May.
  5. Thomas MaCurdy, 2015. "How Effective Is the Minimum Wage at Supporting the Poor?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 123(2), pages 497-545.
  6. Timothy J. Bartik, 1991. "Who Benefits from State and Local Economic Development Policies?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number wbsle, June.
  7. Jonathan Meer & Jeremy West, 2016. "Effects of the Minimum Wage on Employment Dynamics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(2), pages 500-522.
  8. Jeffrey Clemens & Michael Wither, 2014. "The Minimum Wage and the Great Recession: Evidence of Effects on the Employment and Income Trajectories of Low-Skilled Workers," NBER Working Papers 20724, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Christian Moser & Niklas Engbom, 2016. "Earnings Inequality and the Minimum Wage: Evidence from Brazil," 2016 Meeting Papers 72, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Daniel Aaronson & Eric French, 2007. "Product Market Evidence on the Employment Effects of the Minimum Wage," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 167-200.
  11. Daniel Aaronson, 2001. "Price Pass-Through And The Minimum Wage," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 158-169, February.
  12. repec:sae:ilrrev:v:67:y:2014:i:2.5:p:608-648 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Isaac Sorkin, 2015. "Are There Long-Run Effects of the Minimum Wage?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(2), pages 306-333, April.
  14. Nathaniel Baum-Snow & Byron F. Lutz, 2011. "School Desegregation, School Choice, and Changes in Residential Location Patterns by Race," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3019-3046, December.
  15. David Neumark & William Wascher, 1992. "Employment Effects of Minimum and Subminimum Wages: Panel Data on State Minimum Wage Laws," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 55-81, October.
  16. Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Did Unilateral Divorce Laws Raise Divorce Rates? A Reconciliation and New Results," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1802-1820, December.
  17. Daniel Aaronson & Eric French & James MacDonald, 2008. "The Minimum Wage, Restaurant Prices, and Labor Market Structure," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(3), pages 688-720.
  18. Powell, David, 2016. "Synthetic Control Estimation Beyond Case Studies: Does the Minimum Wage Reduce Employment?," Working Papers 1142, RAND Corporation.
  19. Saul D. Hoffman, 2016. "Are the Effects of Minimum Wage Increases Always Small? A Reanalysis of Sabia, Burkhauser, and Hansen," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 69(2), pages 295-311, March.
  20. Joseph J. Sabia & Richard V. Burkhauser & Benjamin Hansen, 2016. "When Good Measurement Goes Wrong," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 69(2), pages 312-319, March.
  21. Michael R. Strain & Peter Brummund, 2016. "Real and permanent minimum wages," AEI Economics Working Papers 875967, American Enterprise Institute.
  22. Bound, John & Johnson, George, 1992. "Changes in the Structure of Wages in the 1980's: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 371-392, June.
  23. 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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