The benefits of raising the minimum wage

From the New York Times: “For years, when American policymakers have debated the minimum wage, they have debated its effect on the labor market. Economists have gone around and around, rehashing the same questions about how wage bumps for the poorest workers could reduce employment, raise prices or curtail hours. What most didn’t ask was: When low-wage workers receive a pay increase, how does that affect their lives?

“But recently, a small group of researchers scattered around the country have begun to pursue this long-neglected question, specifically looking into the public-health effects of a higher minimum wage. …

“A $15 minimum wage is an antidepressant. It is a sleep aid. A diet. A stress reliever. It is a contraceptive, preventing teenage pregnancy. It prevents premature death. It shields children from neglect. But why? Poverty can be unrelenting, shame-inducing and exhausting. When people live so close to the bone, a small setback can quickly spiral into a major trauma. …

“The stress of poverty can also burden the mind, causing us to make worse decisions and ignore our health.”

One thought on “The benefits of raising the minimum wage

  1. Whoa! If you pay people more, their lives are better. I needed to read the NYT to understand that!

    BTW, at some point the Economist tried to summarize what was known about the question “If you raise the minimum wage, how much does the number of people employed go down?” It turns out that every theory predicts employment will go down some, but it’s remarkably hard to get any clear experimental evidence regarding how much. But they conclude that as long as the minimum wage is no more than half the median wage of the area, the evidence is that there’s no reduction in employment. Given the Economist’s biases, I’m inclined to trust the conclusion for political action.

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