Monday, July 03, 2017

The Seattle Minimum Wage Study

From Fortune magazine:

For decades, conservative ideologues have insisted that raising the minimum wage will hurt, not help, low-wage workers. Mandating higher wages will cost jobs, the old canard goes, and the obvious solution is to let the free market function unfettered.

This argument received a significant bump from a recent study by the University of Washington (UW) looking at the impact of the minimum wage increase in Seattle, where in 2014 the city council voted to phase in a $15 wage over the next few years.

The UW study appeared to show that the 2015–2016 wage floor increase from $11 to $13 per hour, one phase on that journey to $15, caused low-wage workers’ annual pay to go down, not up, and overall low-wage jobs to also go down.

Free-market fanatics around the country flung praise at the study, and serious publications like the Washington Post deemed it “very credible.” But fortunately for working people, it turns out the study’s findings are far from that.

The research has significant flaws—most glaringly that its data excludes 40% of the Seattle workforce.

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