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Opinion
Barry Ritholtz

What Minimum-Wage Foes Got Wrong About Seattle

An initial study said the increase to $15 would cost workers jobs and hours. That didn’t happen.

Full employment here.

Full employment here.

Photographer: Mike Kane/Bloomberg

The dire warnings about minimum-wage increases keep proving to be wrong. So much so that in a new paper, the authors behind an earlier study predicting a negative impact have all but recanted their initial conclusions. However, the authors still seem perplexed about why they went awry in the first place.

Seattle, like some other thriving West Coast cities, a few years ago passed an ordinance raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour in a series of steps. The law was a partial response to rising income inequality and poverty in the city, which began its post-crisis economic boom well before the rest of the country.