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Minimum Wage Increases, Wages, and Low-Wage Employment: Evidence from Seattle

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Listed:
  • Ekaterina Jardim
  • Mark C. Long
  • Robert Plotnick
  • Emma van Inwegen
  • Jacob Vigdor
  • Hilary Wething

Abstract

This paper evaluates the wage, employment, and hours effects of the first and second phase-in of the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance, which raised the minimum wage from $9.47 to as much as $11 in 2015 and to as much as $13 in 2016. Using a variety of methods to analyze employment in all sectors paying below a specified real hourly wage rate, we conclude that the second wage increase to $13 reduced hours worked in low-wage jobs by 6-7 percent, while hourly wages in such jobs increased by 3 percent. Consequently, total payroll for such jobs decreased, implying that the Ordinance lowered the amount paid to workers in low-wage jobs by an average of $74 per month per job in 2016. Evidence attributes more modest effects to the first wage increase. We estimate an effect of zero when analyzing employment in the restaurant industry at all wage levels, comparable to many prior studies.

Suggested Citation

  • Ekaterina Jardim & Mark C. Long & Robert Plotnick & Emma van Inwegen & Jacob Vigdor & Hilary Wething, 2017. "Minimum Wage Increases, Wages, and Low-Wage Employment: Evidence from Seattle," NBER Working Papers 23532, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23532
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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