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Noah Smith

A Sign to Go Slow on the $15 Minimum Wage

If boomtown Seattle stumbles on a higher pay floor, imagine the harm in poorer parts of the U.S.
This might not work everywhere.

This might not work everywhere.

Photographer: Erik Mcgregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty Images

One thing almost all economic studies agree on these days is that higher minimum wages don’t throw many people out of work. A recent study of Seattle’s high-profile plan to raise minimum pay to $15 an hour by three University of California Berkeley economists found no drop in employment in the food-services industry as a result of the new higher wage. And a parallel study by the Seattle Minimum Wage Study Team at the University of Washington also estimated that the effect of the higher minimum wage on restaurant employment was zero. Other recent papers continue to find the same at the national level.

Minimum Wage