Monday, July 15, 2013

When in doubt

I had thought that David Neumark and colleagues have the last word on the minimum wage debate.  Yes, there is a Law of Demand. Yes, people respond to incentives. Yes, we assume ceteris paribus and therefore must do more than take a first glance. Yes, we can measure what is seen, but know very little of the unseen (Bastiat), those who never enter the labor force if/when job creation slows. The New York Times and others celebrate the former, those whose wages did go up after a wage hike mandate, but they usually stop there.

Not mincing words, James Buchanan (cited here) famously referred to economists who find that minimum wage effects are benign as "camp following whores."

This morning's WSJ reports "The Shift to Part-Time ... Many Restaurants Avoid Hiring Full-Time Workers Due to Health-Care Rule."  When/if in doubt go with the incentive effects.