16/02/2010

Hard-Nosed Economists, Boldly Going Wherever Reason and Evidence Lead Them

It's another post in the let's-juxtapose-quotations mode, which I'm beginning to like because it allows for a very good effect-to-hassle ratio.

From a recent post by economist Eric Crampton:
Not that empirics matter for much in minimum wage debates, but here are some of the ones I used when I included a week on labour markets in my Econ 224 course.

[...]

Economists don't oppose minimum wages because we're tools of the capitalists or because our hourly rates are well above minimum wage. We oppose them because they, on average, hurt the people they're intended to help.
From an interview with economist David Card:

Region: Your research on the effects of raising the minimum wage, much of which was compiled in your book with Alan Krueger, generated considerable controversy for its conclusion that raising the minimum wage would have a minor impact on employment.

Have you continued to conduct research on the impact of raising the minimum wage? [...]

Card: [...]

I've subsequently stayed away from the minimum wage literature for a number of reasons. First, it cost me a lot of friends. People that I had known for many years, for instance, some of the ones I met at my first job at the University of Chicago, became very angry or disappointed. They thought that in publishing our work we were being traitors to the cause of economics as a whole.
To even things out, an upcoming post will have some sociologists-bashing. If there's one thing I'd hate people to think about this blog it's that these pages are unbalanced!

2 comments:

Crampton said...

I'm not sure the pieces necessarily go against each other. Card showed that, in one case, a small increase in the minimum wage had little effect on overall employment as compared to the employment rate in a nearby state that didn't raise the minimum wage. The marginal effect of small changes can well be small while the overall effect on employment can be large.

LemmusLemmus said...

May be so. I've read none of the cited texts and of course the post is not about the minimum wage.