New Analysis Shows Living Wage Advocates Grossly Exaggerate Support

Sixty Percent of “Experts” Cited Are Not Labor Economics Specialists
  • Publication Date: December 2010

  • Topics: Living Wage

WASHINGTON – Today, the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) released an analysis of the labor-backed Economic Policy Institute’s oft-cited list of 665 economists who support a higher minimum wage. The EPI analysis finds that the list – most recently used in a report by the Fiscal Policy Institute and National Employment Law Project defending a living wage proposal in New York City – features many signers that aren’t labor economists and others that aren’t economists at all.

Approximately 60 percent of the economists researched do not specialize in labor economics. Other specialties include subjects ranging from Marxism and feminist economics to health and agricultural economics.

A one-page policy brief containing the full results of the analysis can be found here:

“As the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion—but not their own facts,” said Michael Saltsman, research fellow at the Employment Policies Institute. “Activist groups lack the economic consensus to support their claims about wage mandates, so they’ve instead turned to an exaggerated list of ‘experts’ to make the case for them.”

“An earlier impartial 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,” Saltsman continued. “And a comprehensive survey of the research on this subject found that 85 percent of the best studies show job loss following a wage hike.”

“It is to this consensus that policymakers should turn, and not contrived studies and lists that tell activists what they want to hear.”