Posted by: Michael Mandel on November 29
Robin Hanson (who I generally like) writes:
Consider how differently the public treats physics and economics. Physicists can say that this week they think the universe has eleven dimensions, three of which are purple, and two of which are twisted clockwise, and reporters will quote them unskeptically, saying “Isn’t that cool!” But if economists say, as they have for centuries, that a minimum wage raises unemployment, reporters treat them skeptically and feel they need to find a contrary quote to “balance” their story.
Robin, any reporter who didn’t find those contrary quotes would be committing journalistic malpractice. And I find it horrifying that you should be suggesting that.
There are quite a few legitimate economists who have written papers arguing against the proposition that a higher minimum wage raises unemployment. The latest survey of the minimum wage literature, by David Neumark and William Wascher, admits
Clearly, no consensus now exists about the overall effects on low-skilled employment of an increase in the minimum wage.
True,Neumark and Wascher do believe that the evidence tends to support the proposition that a higher minimum wage increases unemployment, at least a little bit. Nevertheless, other “real” economists disagree, and journalists should be talking to them as well.
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