Is the main effect of the minimum wage on job growth?

In their new paper, Jonathan Meer and Jeremy West report:

The voluminous literature on minimum wages offers little consensus on the extent to which a wage floor impacts employment. For both theoretical and econometric reasons, we argue that the effect of the minimum wage should be more apparent in new employment growth than in employment levels. In addition, we conduct a simulation showing that the common practice of including state-specific time trends will attenuate the measured effects of the minimum wage on employment if the true effect is in fact on the rate of job growth. Using a long state-year panel on the population of private-sector employers in the United States, we find that the minimum wage reduces net job growth, primarily through its effect on job creation by expanding establishments.

In a slightly different terminology, the effect of the minimum wage may well be attenuated in the short run, but over longer time horizons there is a “great reset” against low-skilled labor.


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