74 Percent of Economists Oppose $15 Federal Minimum Wage

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In past years, lawmakers have been grappling with the viability and impact of increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour. While some states and cities have embraced the idea and enacted the increases, others have been hesitant, not convinced that the raise will benefit workers. Recent survey results of businesses, franchises and other groups suggest that such minimum wage raises may actually harm workers, resulting in fewer jobs, greater difficulty in younger workers finding employment and adoption of automation and other changes to offset the higher cost of labor.

That is from the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) in releasing a new survey regarding labor economists’ view of a federal $15 minimum wage. The survey, published this month, identified overwhelming opposition to a $15 minimum wage mandate.

To better understand how U.S. economists view the likely impact of raising the federal minimum wage to $15, an online survey of 197 U.S. economists was conducted January 31, 2019 and February 19, 2019 by Dr. Lloyd Corder of CorCom Inc., Carnegie Mellon University. A total of 916 individuals were invited to participate based primarily on a contact list maintained by the Institute for the Study of Labor. This survey has a response rate of 22 percent.

 Key findings of the survey are as follows: 

  • 74 percent oppose raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour;
  • 84 percent believe a $15 minimum wage will have negative effects on youth employment;
  • Two-thirds of economists (66 percent) believe that an appropriate federal minimum wage is $10 an hour or less;
  • Just six percent believe a $15 minimum wage is a very efficient means to target individuals in poverty, while 64 percent said the same thing about the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).  

Below is the survey:

The Survey of U.S. Economists on a $15 Federal Minimum Wage, March 2019

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Janet Sparks