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News Link • Employment & Jobs

Seattle's Minimum Wage Has Been a Disaster, as the City's Own Study Confirms

•, Alex Tabarrok

 I farm this one out to Jonathan Meer on FB.

This is the official study that was commissioned several years ago by the city of Seattle to study the impacts of raising the minimum wage, in a move that I applauded at the time as an honest and transparent attempt towards self-examination of a bold policy. It is the first study of a very high city-level minimum wage, with administrative data that has much more detail than is usually available. The first wave (examining the increase to $11/hr) last year was a mixed bag, with fairly imprecise estimates.

These findings, examining another year of data and including the increase to $13/hr, are unequivocal: the policy is an unmitigated disaster. The main findings:

– The numbers of hours worked by low-wage workers fell by *3.5 million hours per quarter*. This was reflected both in thousands of job losses and reductions in hours worked by those who retained their jobs.

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Ed Price
Entered on:

The two points not mention are, of course: 1) The minimum wage forced businesses to become more efficient so they could afford to stay in business, which included layoffs; 2) Employees cut their own hours because they don't need as many now that they have higher wages, which shows how much they love their jobs.

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