EPI: Methodological Problems Bias Analy- sis of Seattle’s Minimum Wage Increase

Labor News

Reprinted from The Economic Policy Institute by Ben Zipperer and John Schmitt on June 26, 2017.

A team of researchers at the University of Washington has released an analysis of the economic impacts of the 2015 and 2016 increases in the Seattle minimum wage. The study, Jardim et al. (2017), looks at the first two stages of a phased-in set of increases that will eventually take the minimum wage in the city to $15.00 per hour. The authors of the study argue that they find large job losses associated with these first two rounds of increases, in which the minimum wage for most workers rose from $9.47 per hour to $11.00 per hour in April 2015 and then to $13.00 per hour in January 2016.1

The authors’ analysis, however, suffers from a number of data and methodological problems that bias the study in the direction of finding job loss, even where there may have been no job loss at all. One initial indicator of these problems is that the estimated employment losses in the Seattle study lie far outside even those generally suggested by mainstream critics of the minimum wage (see, for example, Neumark and Wascher [2008])—as the authors themselves acknowledge. …

EPI 6/26

About Jeffrey Burman 1869 Articles

Jeff Burman represents assistant editors on the Guild’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at jeffrey.s.burman.57@gmail.com.

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