Their results are striking. The minimum wage hikes are found to have no impact on overall hours worked at the California stores. So, if one was looking at hours alone as a proxy for employment, you might conclude that “the minimum wage has no apparent effect on employment.” Yet the researchers find that the business changes its workforce composition and scheduling significantly to try to mitigate the cost increase of the rising wage floor.
First, the number of workers making up those total hours increased significantly–i.e. the company used more workers working shorter hours. When the minimum wage increases by $1, the number of workers scheduled to work each week goes up by 27.7 percent, while the average hours per worker per week falls by 20.8 percent. So the average worker would be 13.6 percent worse off in terms of total wages when the minimum wage was increased from $11 to $12 per hour. But, crucially, this move to more short‐time workers saves the company significant amounts of money by reducing the number of workers eligible for retirement and healthcare benefits.
Whereas “Kennedy called the nation to dare,” today, [Ben] Domenech writes, America is where “schools can’t fail kids for giving the wrong answers, where teachers refuse to teach even with precautions and vaccinations, and where local authorities won’t put down riots.” A different country.
By contrast, the University of Chicago was “itself,” he recalled, “and not an imitation of anything.” The Chicago economics department was extremely demanding, and the vetting was brutal, said Ross Emmett, an authority on the history of the Chicago school of economics. “During that period of time, Harvard took in 25–27 students and graduated 25 of them, whereas Chicago took in 70 students and graduated 25 of them.” The department also had a reputation for being conservative, and Sowell’s political views at the time were, in his words, “still strongly left wing and very much under the influence of Marx.” Nevertheless, he had no qualms about leaving Columbia for Chicago: “I was far more impressed by the fact that we shared similar intellectual values.” Graduate economics “is a technical field and not an ideological battleground,” he reasoned. “As I came to understand the Chicago views on economic policy, they seemed less and less like any conservatism that I knew about.”
David Henderson reports on what he learned from auditing Jeff Hummel’s course in Monetary Theory and Policy. (DBx: I knew about the check tax from work done by my dear friend and former roommate George Selgin. Were it not for my close friendship with George, I, like David, would almost certainly not have known about this absurd tax.)