The Legislated Minimum Wage: A Survey of Much Scientific Research

by Don Boudreaux on October 24, 2013

in Reality Is Not Optional, Seen and Unseen, Work

My buddy Todd Melton sent to me this link to a short survey essay on a half-century of research on the consequences of minimum-wage legislation; it’s a February 1995 report by the Joint Economic Committee of the Republicans in the U.S. Congress.  A slice:

The following survey of the academic research on the minimum wage is designed to give nonspecialists a sense of just how isolated the Card, Krueger and Katz studies are.  It will also indicate that the minimum wage has wide-ranging negative effects that go beyond unemployment.  For example, higher minimum wages encourage employers to cut back on training, thus depriving low wage workers of an important means of long-term advancement, in return for a small increase in current income.  For many workers this is a very bad trade-off, but one for which the law provides no alternative.

This short survey is evidence that the science in 1995 (no less, I believe, than in 2013) has decidedly not shown that minimum-wage legislation improves, or that such legislation even fails to worsen, the economic well-being of the very workers that it is ostensibly said to help.

UPDATE: Several people seem to be unable to open the above link.  I don’t know what the problem is.  I can open it with no problem.  I will continue to look for a better link to that paper, which has an extensive list of scholarly studies on the consequences of minimum-wage legislation.


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