Bryan Caplan  

You Support the Minimum Wage. May I Ask Why?

Economists for a Higher Minimu... Energy Diversification...

I second Arnold's recommendation of the Klein-Dompe piece. Dan Klein is probably the greatest intellectual entrepreneur I know. Who else would see a petition to raise the minimum wage and think "Wow, what an opportunity to write a fascinating article"?

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COMMENTS (6 to date)
Mike writes:

After years of learning and now teaching economics, I support large increases in the minimum wage. As I am still only 32 years old, I have not yet had the (mis)fortune of living through a time when horrible policies were inflicted upon society - and so I do not have the ability to draw upon them as teaching material.

My students can only believe me so much when I demonstrate to them that mandated above market wages result in unemployment of resources (or other bad effects).

This is why I am now supporting nationalized health care, excess profits taxes, caps on CEO pay, limitations on oil exploration, stricter occupational licensing, stronger drug laws, and more! My school tells me they want economics to have more of a "service learning" aspect to it - what better way than to have my students experience the (un)intended effects of disasterous economic policies!

Gabriel M. writes:

Are you sure he didn't sprinkle anthrax on those envelops? ;-)

Tom West writes:

Sadly for economic lessons, reality seems to fairly steadfastly refuse to clearly hew to economic reality where Minimum Wage is concerned. We keep raising the minimum wage moderate amounts, and the economy fails to collapse...

In this case the economic downside, if it even exists, is minimal. However, as pointed out by the economists interviewed, there are a raft of non-economic, but still very real, reasons for supporting them minimum wage. Failing to recognize that economic policy *is* political policy (and has significant non-economic effects) is to fail to recognize how mankind operates.

Stanford writes:

Tom West sadly is ignorant of the fact that without a federal minimum wage, there is still a natural minimum wage. Would you work for 10 cents an hour? 50 cents? 1 dollar? 5 dollars? Since there is no law mandating employment, workers can choose what wage will offset their opportunity cost of not working. Just another example of those out of touch economist's crazy theory of spontaneous order....

Ray G writes:


Someone said that, if a single economic policy doesn't ruin the economy, it must be good policy.


Everything is simple when viewed through a scope no wider than a paper towel roll.

Jessica writes:

I believe that the minimum wage should be increased because as things become to be more expensive for us as citizens, we need more money to pay bills. It is also hiring more employees therefore the businesses will make more money as a whole.
I also agree with the fact that as the minimum wage has continued to increase that the economy still has yet to collapse. Therefore it is good that we are increasing them.

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