Conflicts of Interest in Peer Review of LA Minimum Wage Studies
Publication Date: May 2015
Topics: Minimum Wage
A “peer review” of three Los Angeles minimum wage studies will be presented to the City Council’s Economic Development Committee next week. An early copy was obtained and publicized last night by KPCC.
The “peer review” favors the study by a team of labor union-affiliated researchers at UC-Berkeley’s Labor Center and Institute for Research on Labor & Employment. Yet the peer reviewers themselves appear to have conflicts of interest:
- One of the researchers, Jeffrey Wenger, was previously a paid staffer for one the country’s largest union think tanks, which has on its board a who’s-who of major union bosses. In his work at this think tank, he advocated for a minimum wage increase.
- The other researcher, Till von Wachter, is an accomplished economist, but also a faculty adviser at the Institute for Research on Labor & Employment — the same union-friendly research unit responsible for pro-minimum wage research put before the council.
Michael Saltsman, research director at the Employment Policies Institute, released the following statement:
Calling on an economist formerly employed by Big Labor’s think tank to provide a neutral ‘peer review’ of the Berkeley minimum wage study is almost as ridiculous as the original decision to have the Berkeley team conduct that study. Whatever the credentials of the reviewing economists, their affiliations clearly create a conflict of interest that prevents the City Council from receiving a neutral assessment of the consequences from a $13.25 minimum wage.