Are the Effects of Minimum Wage Increases Always Small? New Evidence from a Case Study of New York State
Joseph J. Sabia
San Diego State University - Department of Economics
Richard V. Burkhauser
Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis & Management (PAM); University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute
University of Oregon - Department of Economics
April 1, 2012
Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 65, No. 2, 2012
The authors estimate the effect of the 2004–6 New York State (NYS) minimum wage increase from $5.15 to $6.75 per hour on the employment rates of 16- to 29-year-olds who do not have a high school diploma. Using data drawn from the 2004 and 2006 Current Population Survey, they employ difference-in-difference estimates to show that the NYS minimum wage increase is associated with a 20.2% to 21.8% reduction in the employment of less-skilled, less-educated workers, with the largest effects on those aged 16 to 24. Their estimates imply a median employment elasticity with respect to the minimum wage of around –0.7, large relative to previous researchers’ estimates. The authors’ findings are robust to their choice of geographically proximate comparison states, the use of a more highly skilled within-state comparison group, and a synthetic control design approach. Moreover, their results provide plausible evidence that state minimum wage increases can have substantial adverse labor demand effects for low-skilled individuals that are outside previous elasticity estimates, ranging from –0.1 to –0.3.
Keywords: minimum wage, employment, difference-in-difference
JEL Classification: J30, J31
Date posted: June 12, 2012
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