Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Bob Murphy of the Texas Tech Free Market Institute goes through the recent literature on the minimum wage.
Bob concludes:
In the 1980s, there was a genuine consensus that a 10-percent hike in the minimum wage would reduce teenage employment by 1 to 3 percent. However, in the 1990s, various "case studies" began challenging this orthodox view, and more recent studies have generalized techniques to apparently find negligible employment effects. Many economists have used this new research to assure policymakers and the public to pay no heed to warnings about harmful job losses from even aggressive minimum wage hikes.
However, in reality, the employment effect of the minimum wage is still an open question even for modest hikes. Since the 1990s, scores of articles have found negative effects of minimum wage increases. These include "case studies," with one serving as the mirror image of the famous Card and Krueger study. Furthermore, critics have challenged the entire premise of the new techniques, which claim to construct better control groups than the traditional approaches.
Finally, even if we take the very best examples of the "new" results at face value, they provide little comfort that large hikes in the minimum wage—such as a doubling to $15 per hour—will have modest impacts. Policymakers and the public should be wary of the glib assurances of some prominent economists when they claim that such large hikes will not cause teenagers to lose their jobs. The odds are very high that they will.

Arnold Kling has some more thoughts on economic methods.

Two blogs I follow both posted on Instrumental Variables regressions on the same day (here and here). I pointed this out on Twitter and they both wrote responses (here and here). Interesting stuff, but certainly wonkish.

Some interesting commentary on globalization and poor cities in the US from Kevin Williamson.

Peter Klein (and Larry Summers) on behavioral economics as a re-statement of clever (but old and well-known) business practices.
From the article Peter points to:
Have behavioral economists really discovered anything new, or have they simply replaced some wrong-headed notions of post-World War II economics with insights that people in business have understood for decades and maybe even centuries?

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