What Is the Impact of Minimum Wage Hikes on the Least-Skilled?

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In case you needed more evidence that minimum wage hikes tend to hurt those with the least skills and education, here are the conclusions from a paper from earlier this year:

This paper uses the ACS to generate early estimates of the employment effects of state minimum wage increases implemented between January 2013 and January 2015. Through 2015, our best estimate is that minimum wage increases exceeding $1 resulted, on average, in an employment decline just over 1 percentage point among teenagers, among individuals ages 16–21, and among individuals ages 16–25 with less than a completed high school education. Smaller minimum wage increases and inflation indexed minimum wage increases had much smaller (and possibly positive) effects on these groups’ employment…Due to the short time horizons we analyze, our estimates provide short-run evidence on the effects of the minimum wage increases enacted after the Great Recession. Data on the longer-run effects of this period’s minimum wage changes will be essential for arriving at strong conclusions regarding their effects (pgs. 720-721).

This should surprise no one. As economist Antony Davies explains, “Historically, as the relative minimum wage has risen, unemployment among college-educated workers has not changed, unemployment among high-school-educated workers has risen slightly, unemployment among workers without high school diplomas has increased moderately, and unemployment among young workers without high school diplomas has increased dramatically.”1