Friday April 13th 2012

The Increased Role of the Minimum Wage

I am in the process of revising my intermediate macro book.  As I was updating the section on the minimum wage, I was struck by how much the data has changed over three years.  The minimum wage has a much larger role now than it did three years ago, in large part because of the legislated increase in the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour.  For example, comparing the 2010 data with the 2007 data, one finds the following:

  • The percentage of all hourly-paid workers paid at or below the minimum wage rose from 2.3 to 6.0 percent.
  • The percentage of part-time workers paid at or below the minimum wage rose from 5 to 14 percent.
  • The percentage of teenage workers paid at or below the minimum wage rose from 7 to 25 percent.

Question for class discussion:  In light of what is occurring with the overall economy during this period, how would you evaluate the policy change regarding the minimum wage?

This article was originally posted on Greg Mankiw’s Blog