Not all minimum-wage studies are equal. Some of the most headline-grabbing negative reports on the effects of the minimum wage were commissioned and promoted by right-wing organizations looking to legitimize trickle-down policies that hurt workers. How can you spot studies that aren’t worth their salt? Economist Ben Zipperer joins Nick and Jasmin to reveal some of the tricks that economists pull, and to help us understand how some studies can conclude that raising wages will kill jobs—even though, as we know, the opposite is true. 

Ben Zipperer is an economist at the Economic Policy Institute. His areas of expertise include the minimum wage, inequality, and low-wage labor markets. He has published research in the Industrial and Labor Relations Review and has been quoted in outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, and the BBC. 

Twitter: @benzipperer, @EconomicPolicy

Further reading: 

Gradually raising the minimum wage to $15 would be good for workers, good for businesses, and good for the economy: https://www.epi.org/publication/minimum-wage-testimony-feb-2019/

Six reasons not to put too much weight on the new study of Seattle’s minimum wage: https://www.epi.org/blog/six-reasons-not-to-put-too-much-weight-on-the-new-study-of-seattles-minimum-wage/

Studies mentioned in the episode: 

New EPI study: The Effect of Minimum Wages on Low-Wage Jobs: Evidence from the United States Using a Bunching Estimator: https://www.nber.org/papers/w25434

Card and Krueger: Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania: http://davidcard.berkeley.edu/papers/njmin-aer.pdf

University of Washington study – Minimum Wage Increases, Wages, and Low-Wage Employment: Evidence from Seattle: https://www.nber.org/papers/w23532