Is There an Economic Consensus in Favor of Wage Mandates?

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In debates over whether to raise the minimum wage, proponents often try to boost their credibility by referencing a group of 15 prominent economists who support a minimum wage increase, as well as approximately 650 additional economists in agreement. This list, first compiled and released by the Economic Policy Institute (a labor-backed organization), is still cited frequently to counter the claims of labor economists who argue that raising the minimum wage could cause job loss. The list was even inserted into the Congressional Record by Congressman George Miller
(D-CA) during the last debate over raising the United States federal minimum wage.

But a closer examination of the list by the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) reveals that nearly 60 percent of the economists studied don’t specialize in labor economics—and some aren’t even economists at all.

At best, this list from the Economic Policy Institute represents the opinion of roughly 20 percent of the country’s labor economists—a fitting reality, given that an earlier survey of the country’s labor economists from the University of New Hampshire found 73 percent in agreement that a mandated wage increase would decrease entry-level employment.

Learn more about the labor-backed Economic Policy Institute