• Can Raising the Minimum Wage Reduce Poverty and Hardship?

    April 2012 Dr. Joseph Sabia, Robert Nielsen

    In 2011, the Census Bureau reported that the country’s poverty rate was 15.1 percent—the highest rate in nearly 20 years. One policy prescription for this problem is an increase in the federal minimum wage. It’s an intuitive thought: Raise the wages of the lowest paid workers, and poverty rates are sure to fall. Unfortunately, the empirical evidence hasn’t borne this out. Instead, multiple studies have demonstrated [...]
  • Tip Credits and Employment in the U.S. Restaurant Industry

    November 2011 David Macpherson, William Even

    Few parts of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are more poorly understood than provisions relating to tipped employees. Though the federal minimum wage is set at $7.25 an hour, the FLSA permits tipped employees to be paid a cash wage of $2.13 an hour—so long as the employee earns at least the federal minimum of $7.25 when their tips are included. The difference between the [...]
  • An Offer You Can’t Refuse: Estimating the Coverage Effects of the 2010 Affordable Care Act

    July 2011 Richard Burkhauser, Sean Lyons, Kosali Simon

    Proponents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the companion Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, known collectively as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) , expect that the law will substantially expand health insurance coverage to the 17.6 percent of currently uninsured, non-elderly working Americans, without dramatically changing the terms under which the currently insured now receive their health insurance. Conversely, [...]
  • Unequal Harm: Racial Disparities in the Employment Consequences of Minimum Wage Increases

    May 2011 William Even, David Macpherson

    When the Great Recession’s negative effect on the U.S. labor market was strongest, the national unemployment rate stood at 10.1 percent—a depth last seen in June 1983. But the greatest amount of pain was felt by younger and more vulnerable workers—though not in equal amounts. For instance, the unemployment rate for 16-to-19 year-olds reached 27.1 per-cent at the recession’s trough. For white teens, the figure was [...]
  • Just Getting By?: Income Dependence on Minimum Wage Jobs

    March 2011

    Increases in the minimum wage remain popular with legislators and the public in part due to misconceptions about who earns the minimum. The most popular and seemingly persuasive argument for minimum wage hikes is that adult minimum wage workers can’t afford to maintain their families at those wage levels. Census Bureau data confirm that approximately 40 percent of the beneficiaries of the most recent federal minimum wage [...]