New Survey Finds 72 Percent of U.S. Economists Oppose a $15 Federal Minimum Wage

Five out of six economists say it will cause youth job loss. Two-thirds say it will hurt small businesses
  • Publication Date: November 2015

  • Topics: Minimum Wage

Washington D.C. – Today, the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) released a new survey conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center asking economists about their reaction to a $15 minimum wage. It finds that 72 percent of U.S.-based economists oppose a $15 federal minimum wage. EPI is placing a full page ad in the New York Post tomorrow highlighting the survey’s results.

The findings coincide with yet another round of union-backed “Fight for $15” protests scheduled for tomorrow in major cities nationwide.

The survey was completed by 166 U.S.-based economists, the majority of whom specialize in labor and identify as Democrats. The survey was sent to 555 economists nationwide, whose names were obtained earlier this year from a database of roughly 1,400 prominent economists from around the world maintained by the Institute for the Study of Labor.

View the full survey here.

The survey asks several additional questions that shed light on this topline finding. Five out of six respondents (83 percent) said that a $15 federal minimum wage would have harmful effects on youth employment levels. Three-quarters (76 percent) of respondents said that a $15 minimum wage would have a negative effect on the number of jobs available. And two-thirds (67 percent) of respondents said that a $15 minimum wage would make it more difficult for small businesses to stay in business.

These findings bolster anecdotal reports of high-profile, left-of-center economists from the Obama and Clinton administrations — including Katherine Abraham, Alan Krueger, and Harry Holzer — opposing a federal $15 wage mandate.

Though proponents argue that minimum wage increases are an effective anti-poverty measure, the surveyed economists disagree. Only five percent of respondents believe that a $15 minimum wage to be an efficient way to address the income needs of poor families. By contrast, 71 percent of respondents said that the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which bolsters incomes through the tax code, is a very efficient way to address the income needs of poor families.

View the full survey here.

The full page ad in the New York Post tomorrow highlights the survey’s findings.

The ad reads:

If 7 out of 10 doctors said you were sick, you would listen.

Why aren’t we listening to the 72% of economists who say a $15 minimum wage is a bad idea?

The text at the bottom reads:

Today, unions and their allies will stage another nationwide protest to promote a $15 minimum wage. But a new survey of U.S. economists reveals that a majority – even those who identify as Democrats – oppose a $15 federal mandate.

View the ad here.

“While today’s Fight for $15 protesters claim to have moral authority on their side, American economists say otherwise, with nearly three-quarters opposing a $15 federal minimum wage,” said Michael Saltsman, research director at the Employment Policies Institute. “This survey confirms what economists have been telling us for decades and Fight for $15 protesters have been tuning out for years: Minimum wage hikes cost jobs.”