Thursday, June 29, 2017

Seattle Minimum Wage and Beware of the Single Study

Short note on the blog: I have had a bit of a pause in posts - by far the longest since I started Reading the Washington Landscape. A mix of reasons, but nothing bad.  

Seattle has become a bit of a laboratory on minimum wage. The latest paper (NBER Paper on Seattle's Minimum Wage) made national news.

Scott Alexander provides a cautionary perspective on the subject: beware-the-man-of-one-study. It should be noted as well that the results are for only the past two years. 

An unattributed economist comments:   

For economists, the debate about the minimum wage is almost an unproductive game. It is fun to research, there are a lot of different theories to consider minimum wage increases and ways to measure the impact of the minimum wage. And the general public is interested in this research, which is rare. Although presumably, the results will be heavily filtered through confirmation bias...
At what point is it safe to say this research is unproductive? If economists cannot reach a consensus on the minimum wage, but can reach a consensus on redistribution programs that would be preferable to a minimum wage hike, why don't they just shout at the public about that?