Early results from the Seattle minimum wage experiment

I would stress that it is the very long run results that matter, once all lock-in and morale effects are gone or redrawn and the eventually-old legislated minimum wage is simply a relative price like any other.  But what about the short run?  Timothy Taylor has a good survey of a recent study (pdf), and here is his concluding paragraph:

I’m willing to let the evidence tell me the story, and on many economic issues, it takes time for the evidence to accumulate. As more cities raise minimum wage, the picture will clarify. But the early evidence from Seattle is that a higher minimum wage at the city level doesn’t raise total earnings by much, because low-skilled workers end up with fewer hours on the job.

There are many other points at the link.

Comments

Peter and Paul both now have spare time to play video games together.

More seriously, if it's true that people (men especially) get their self-worth from having a job (I don't, I'm glad I'm loafing with my hot Filipino gf half my age, doing nothing, ironically she wants to work and I keep telling her not to worry), then having a higher minimum wage is a positive externality to society, as more people can participate in the 'world of work', even part time or with fewer hours than without a minimum wage. Certainly that seems to be the case with (relatively) high minimum wage Manila, Philippines: it seems workers are constantly hired and fired after 1-6 months, due to the "high" minimum wage, but other workers, even with experience, seem to be constantly found, since there' so much youth unemployment. Also I think companies get a subsidy from the government for hiring a new worker, so it pays to hire and fire (I assume there's not much of a learning curve for the job).

Long story shorter: higher minimum wages are good since they allow more people to experience some work, albeit at reduced hours, and positive social externalities flow from this experience.

Probably your gf would like to have some to fall back on when you prove to be as worthless as you seem.

I think she just wants more johns paying her.

you sound jealous

I prefer to call it an instinctive aversion for the blowhard and braggart.

I think he "brags" more that he can have fun by not being enslaved by convention, in a sense, than really bragging in a substantive way.

People who know they are smart, but don't think they know everything ...

Ray, pics of gf or didn't happen.

+ 1/2 my age

"I don’t, I’m glad I’m loafing with my hot Filipino gf half my age, doing nothing"

A Greek does not like to work? I would never have guessed!

Boom goes the dynamite.

Greeks actually put in more hours of work than the Germans. They're just not efficient. I stood in line for a routine bank transaction not involving the teller and it took 30 minutes per customer (two people in front of me, two bank employees to service them) to process the queue. Greek bank systems are not automated. When one bank takes over the other, there is data lost and if the customer does not bring the data loss to the new banks attention (as in fact instructed by the new bank in a letter to customers), you can lose money. I'm looking to recover a lost 500k Euro this way in a probate proceeding involving my aunt.

More hours at work is not the same thing as more hours of work.

Fewer total low-wage hours worked means one of two things:

1) If the hours reductions are evenly distributed, then the substitution effect means that low-wage workers are making the same amount of money but get more free time. Which is beneficial to them.
2) If they aren't, then some low-wage workers are now working the same amount but making a livable amount of money, which is beneficial to them. And others are unemployed instead of making an unlivable amount of money, which is lousy for them, but not as bad as the others' raises are good.

So either way, an improvement in overall welfare. Possibly (probably) not as much of an improvement as the proponents of the increase claimed, but still an improvement.

3) We're falsifying the work records and if you've got a problem with that you don't get the job. You work with us and we'll work with you, but the only way to make this business work is to do it our way. If that's okay with you, welcome aboard.

That seems like a problem that already exists, would only marginally increase with the amount of wages at stake, and won't be made any harder to solve by said increase.

Only in the tradeable sector. I'd prefer to see the tradeable sector fully outsourced, at least the portion of it that doesn't benefit from short transportation distances, and work on creating livable jobs in the nontradeable sector.

The idea that a white American deserves a higher wage for doing the same job as a Vietnamese person is racist. That's why I support Hillary Clinton's plan to offshore all manufacturing work currently occupied by privileged whites.

Oh, I'm delighted to do it your way. That's why I took the precaution of bringing a little electronic friend with me to demonstrate the kind of business savvy that demands a substantial remuneration. What's your opening offer?

he substitution effect means that low-wage workers are making the same amount of money but get more free time. Which is beneficial to them.

It's not beneficial to them if they would rather be working than having free time.
We're talking about people who are largely already employed part time. Perhaps a few extra hours of leisure isn't something they really want.

But if they already preferred more hours before this policy, and weren't getting them, then on that measure they are in the same place they were.

If they really don't want free time, they can volunteer, which is a benefit to society.

They would like them to volunteer, but only for socially-approved causes, like protesting in favor of the $15 minimum wage.

Volunteering in the form of (say) an unpaid internship would be verboten.

Depends on why they prefer work over leisure. If it's to make a little extra scratch in order to maximize the pleasure of that leisure time, volunteering doesn't help.

But if the only reason they prefer work over leisure is money, they are still better off with more leisure and the same amount of money than they were with less leisure and the same amount of money.

a few extra hours of leisure .
They can bone-up on their French and finally read "Remembrance of Things Past" in the original.

They can "do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic".

More likely they could spend the extra hours driving for Uber, but the sort of people who want a $15 minimum wage don't want them doing that either.

That's not the choice they're faced with. Obviously, they'd prefer to work more and make more money, but if that's not possible and working less wouldn't reduce their income then why wouldn't they take the few extra hours of leisure?

Possibly to gain skills on the job and thus increase their employability. It may seem like a small goal, but perhaps one is hoping to advance to manager and then eventually own their own franchise. Getting more hours is an initial step towards moving up the food chain (no pun intended).

You're still talking about more hours relative to other employees. If the overall number of hours worked is adjusted down, there will still be sometimes need to work extra/undesirable hours, and there will still be slackers who work less, so the go-getters will still be able to stand out.

Only if you have no career goals.

Or if you use the free time to go to school/study on your own.

More free time is a net gain over less free time no matter what. It may be more or less beneficial than a certain amount of extra money, but it is still beneficial.

You mean take more correspondence courses in air conditioner repair?
Do we need more people with unmarketable skills?

It appears the hourly reductions were not evenly distributed: low-wage employment declined a full percentage point. For those low-wage earners who kept their jobs, hours worked declined and is lagging the national average. I don't think you're the right person to decide what is 'beneficial' to low-wage earners, especially if you think most low-wage earners would prefer more leisure time to more available hours to work. For many people, and leaving pecuniary benefits aside, work is a productive escape from a bad home-life; wages are not the only benefit people derive from work, but they are the easiest benefit to plot on a graph, I guess, so gets the most attention. I don't think a marginal improvement in wages for some ($9.96/hour versus $11.14/hour) is worth others losing their jobs entirely, especially when it's not clear total earnings have increased. "Livable versus unlivable" is the wrong way to look at the minimum wage since only a small minority are sole breadwinners. Most are young, unskilled, or just working to supplement their household income. I think the social cost of pricing young and minority workers out of the labor market is high and underappreciated. It's not clear to me the only outcome of a higher minimum wage is "an improvement in overall welfare."

I disagree, we need to raise the minimum wage to $30.00 an hour to arrive at a just economy, and let the unemployed enjoy their vacations and flexible hours.

A 1% decrease in employment and 2.5% decrease in hours offset by a 10% increase in pay looks favorable, especially as more time has some value in itself, though there may be some effects beyond those at the minimum wage.

This is just the short run adjustment while employers figure out how to make do with fewer workers. Count on more touch screens and the new Ultra-Size menu.

"And others are unemployed instead of making an unlivable amount of money, which is lousy for them, but not as bad as the others’ raises are good."

Huh? So you are saying wage inequality is a good thing at the very low end? And do you believe it's also a good thing at the very high end?

I'm saying that it's preferable to have fewer jobs, all of which pay a livable amount, to more jobs, only some of which do.

Wage inequality between jobs that pay enough to live on is a completely different issue. I have not thought as much about that question, except to conclude that the stakes attached to it are lower.

"I’m saying that it’s preferable to have fewer jobs, all of which pay a livable amount, to more jobs, only some of which do."

That's an unproven assertion and I don't see intrinsically why it would be true. Societies with low amounts of employment tend to me dysfunctional for many different reasons. One of those relates to human social interaction and the benefits that accrue from working.

I’m saying that it’s preferable to have fewer jobs, all of which pay a livable amount, to more jobs, only some of which do.

Why not subsidize the workers whose wages aren't cutting it, so they can work and retain attached to the workforce, instead of becoming a permanent underclass incapable of work?

That has been our policy for the last thirty years. The results have been that the economy created lots of low paid jobs because that is what is subsidizes and it takes 2 incomes to earn enough to support most families without government help.

"I’m saying that it’s preferable to have fewer jobs, all of which pay a livable amount, to more jobs, only some of which do."

So, you pay some people more, but then reduce production and implement rationing to force those with higher income to lend money to the newly unemployed because having higher wage workers buy more stuff which would increase gdp is bad for the economy?

The only way any significant inflation could occur is if 99% of workers earn the minimum wage. If only 10% of workers have their wages doubled, the maximum inflation to adapt would be 5%, but that's only if those workers produce things where 100% of the price is their labor costs and zero goes to capital or land rents or monopoly profits. If labor costs are 50% of the price, the one time inflation will be 3% by doubling the wages of 10% of workers. And that assumes the other industry has zero slack and the increased demand for goods and services by the 10% for more hiring to build capital and increase marginal labor costs raising price levels in general - ie, zero economy of scale will occur.

Relative price shift......

I had a number of jobs through high school and college. They were not livable by any stretch and there was no pretense that they would be. Yet myself, the employer, customers, and the government (through taxes) were all made better off. Why in the world you think its a good to throw away that entire part of the economy is beyond me.

Unlivable amount of money! So are they now zombies, once dead?

If the hours reductions are evenly distributed, then the substitution effect means that low-wage workers are making the same amount of money but get more free time.

Read what Tim Taylor wrote:

Thus, low-wager workers in Seattle were better off as a result of the higher minimum wage if they managed to keep their job or to keep working roughly the same number of hours. But the employment rate of low-wage workers in Seattle declined slightly, as did the hours worked, which would lead to lower total earnings. As the study group notes: "The major conclusion one should draw from this analysis is that the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance worked as intended by raising the hourly wage rate of low-wage workers, yet the unintended, negative side effects on hours and employment muted the impact on labor earnings.

Sounds like the reductions were not evenly distributed; part of the hours reductions was a a result of some people losing their jobs entirely. Sad!

No, what that means is longer duration of unemployment between jobs, though some marginal attached workers may opt out. An overall increase though not the full increase.

"And others are unemployed instead of making an unlivable amount of money, which is lousy for them, but not as bad as the others’ raises are good."

I wonder what the newly unemployed would think about this? I'm so glad you're able to balance their hardships so precisely against the gains of others. Must be nice to be so omniscient.

"Must be nice to be so omniscient."

Or just lacking in empathy.

jb,

From the study...

"The typical worker earning under $11/hour in Seattle when the City Council voted to raise the minimum wage in June 2014 (“low-wage workers”) earned $11.14 per hour by the end of 2015, an increase from $9.96/hour at the time of passage."

"The minimum wage contributed to this effect, but the strong economy did as well. We estimate that the minimum wage itself is responsible for a $0.73/hour average increase for low-wage workers."

"The minimum wage appears to have slightly reduced the employment rate of low-wage workers by about one percentage point."

"Hours worked among low-wage Seattle workers have lagged behind regional trends, by roughly four hours per quarter (nineteen minutes per week), on average."

Wages have risen by at 7% and employment has declined by (at most) 1%.

Sounds like a success story.

"In sum, Seattle’s experience shows that the City’s low-wage workers did relatively well after the minimum wage increased, but largely because of the strong regional economy. Seattle’s low wage workers would have experienced almost equally positive trends if the minimum wage had not increased. Although the minimum wage clearly increased wages for this group, offsetting effects on low-wage worker hours and employment muted the impact on labor earnings."

"And others are unemployed instead of making an unlivable amount of money, which is lousy for them, but not as bad as the others’ raises are good." - So I take it you are all for increased income inequality?

It isn't a perfect substitution though, the employer still loses the previous hours worked for the employee that is now given up to "leisure". They'll make up for it in multiple ways not all of which are very pleasant for the employee.

But those workers were being paid their marginal product, so the employer isn't losing anything on the margin because the lost marginal product equals the avoided marginal wage cost. Envelope theorem.

I know I know, this assumes perfectly efficient labor markets, and we all know labor markets are not perfectly efficient because of monopsony power, which is why employers can "make up for it in multiple ways not all of which are very pleasant for the employee." Of course, in that case, a minimum wage can increase both wages and employment. (http://catalog.flatworldknowledge.com/bookhub/21?e=rittenberg-ch14_s03)

"And others are unemployed instead of making an unlivable amount of money, which is lousy for them, but not as bad as the others’ raises are good."

Repeat after me: inter-personal utility comparisons are impossible.

Even if you don't believe that (and most don't), it's far from obvious that your claim is true, especially since you provided zero evidence for it.

Liberals like to claim that taking money from someone who has more to give to someone who has less is a positive good.

That being the case, a law that disemploys some people and gives the money to others who manage to keep their jobs is regressive and bad in liberals' terms.

-dk

'I would stress that it is the very long run results that matter'

Keynes begs to differ, as he would say in the very long run, the results for all of us remain the same.

Low paid workers live shorter lives, and in less desirable conditions. That's hardly the same results.

David Beckworth's latest podcast is an interview of Jason Taylor, an economic historian who has focused on the Great Depression and its causes. He credits FDR for the turn-around in the first half of 1933 and faults FDR for the collapse in the second half of 1933, the latter he attributes to FDR's decision to follow the advice of Herbert Hoover and encourage employers to raise wages (as part of the NIRA). Taylor's explanation is that Hoover and FDR had confused the observed correlation between economic growth and high wages for causation. If higher wages could cause the collapse in industrial output in 1933, just think what a higher minimum wage might do in Seattle - coffee output might plummet. [Taylor also faults the NIRA for contributing to the collapse in industrial output in the second half of 1933 by requiring competing companies to enter into cartels in order to maintain higher prices, the consequence of which was for the companies to cut production (as companies often do when they collaborate with what are supposed to be competitors).] It's ironic that many of today's economists would fault the New Deal for prolonging the Great Depression for the failure to appreciate that economic growth comes from supply (production) and not demand (wages). Of course, readers of this blog know that supply creates its own demand.

David Beckworth’s latest podcast is an interview of Jason Taylor, an economic historian who has focused on the Great Depression and its causes. He credits FDR for the turn-around in the first half of 1933 and faults FDR for the collapse in the second half of 1933,

There was no 'collapse' in 1933. Real production grew rapidly from 1933 to the beginning of 1937, declined for about a year and a half, then grew rapidly again until the end of the war. The same applies for personal disposable income, although that grew at a slower pace than production. The same also applies for private consumption with two qualificaitons: it grew at a slower pace than production or income and it declined some in 1941-42 as capacity shifted to war materiel and rationing was instituted.

FDR was a fraud

Trump University level fraud, Clinton email server level, or WMDs in Iraq level?

Two of those three were not frauds. I'll let you figure out which one was the actual fraud.

Well two of the three will be prior actions of a President of the US by next year. I think, as soon as you become President, it's no longer fraud. At that point it becomes effective leadership.

A) Look, free college tuition to all US citizens ... at Trump University!

B) Hey, I had a private email server as Secretary of State and the FBI said it wasn't that big a deal. So, obviously, I'll have a private email server as POTUS!

LOL, another partisan dumdum

Let's see...we found WMDs in Iraq despite the media's cover up and Trump University is a private business that offered real estate investment courses as advertised. One of these things is not like the other.

Add the Clinton Chancellor scandal.

Also:http://dailyheadlines.net/2016/02/massive-amounts-of-wmds-were-found-in-iraq/

Who's partisan?

No, it wasn't. He save America from herself.

It would be interesting to know if the additional "leisure" time is taken up by working a second job or not.

If no, then more leisure is fungible with more unemployment if the worker in question would rather be working.
If yes, then working two jobs instead of one may be reducing overall welfare by forcing inefficiencies like travelling and transitioning between multiple jobs.

Even in the case where the worker is getting the same amount of money for fewer hours worked, less hours for a minimum wage employee, translates to less working experience and less future income in the long run.

I see everyone has been very good about talking from the worker's perspective, which does sound like all things considered more money is being spent on worker payroll. What about from the employer's perspective? I'm having a hard time believing that it's been so rosy for them, and that matters indirectly for the worker. Less reward for starting a shop should mean less shops should mean less employment should mean less money going to workers... no?

Like it said, early stages of gathering information. We shall see how this experiment plays out in full, in time. In the meantime, I'm glad it's Seattle being brave test subjects instead of my city.

But taking a second job isn't like trying to arrange a schedule for a 50% increase in clients. You just get a job with hours of availability which are easily managed according to the first job. For example, evening shifts, weekend shifts, etc. But with that comes that, you might not have too much troubles getting your 40 hours at the higher minimum wage, but you'll probably have a couple/few days where you have to work full shifts back-to-back in different jobs, get a short sleep and do the same the next day.

When I've worked more than one job, I've found that the weight comes more in terms of either the sheer number of hours or the scheduling which likely includes a couple/few very long days per week, and whatever else needs to be arranged for attire, transportation, etc., is no more difficult for the fact of the work being spread over two jobs instead of one.

Maybe reduced low-wage employment is the point of municipal wage floors, a clever way of getting people who could use a $10/hour job to live somewhere else, and not an unwished consequence. The riff-raff who want to patronize less pricey businesses, that would employ $10/hour workers, will also have to move, freeing up cities for those who deserve them.

And since the impact of minimum wage disproportionately impacts young, black males, I expect there is a segregational impact. I have no idea if it would be significant.

Cool story bro.

My stories are always chillin'.

The Riff-Raff are busy posting their small-mindedness on the internet, while real Americans are riding buses to sweep floors or flip burgers. I'm thinking we may get the cities that we deserve, Seems so, anyway.

The words he uses are quite vague (deliberately?).

Maybe if he was a little more deliberate we might be able to reach a stronger conclusion.

He does say that net income does increase for low income workers.

But I do not get a real feel off what the costs are.

He does talk about firms investing more to save labor as if it is a bad thing. I disagree and argue that that is the way we raise our standards of living over the long run. I know of no one who has demonstrated that cheap labor is good for overall economic growth. Maybe the real reason the US is experiencing economic stagnation is that we have had cheap labor over the last few decades. Ner real business investment per employee has been negative over this cycle.

Considering that raising the rate of technological development is one of the most important indicators of things contributing to economic development, should we be surprised that those who justify policies which pad the profits of large businesses on the basis of supposedly contributing to faster technological development, when are suddenly disinterested in the subject when the question of padding profits of lesser-sized business comes to play?

"Growing pains arguments" just don't seem to be popular among the expected proponents when those pains are to be felt by business owners.

From the link: 'The effects of disemployment appear to be roughly offsetting the gain in hourly wage rates, leaving the earnings for the average low-wage worker unchanged.'

This seems like, ceteris paribus, a good thing for these workers. I would gladly reduce my hours of work if my remuneration could stay the same (actually my preference is to keep my hours the same and increase my remuneration, but if that's not on the table I'll take fewer hours for the some money).

thats at the aggregate. Would you chance losing your job completely for the same money for less work? Most readers of this site probably would since they can be readily employed again, i dont think minimum wage workers have the same opportunities.

Don't call it an experiment; it wouldn't pass any ethics panel.

Why do businesses want to block any growth in gdp?

Just to blame Obama for their efforts to block growth in gdp?

What are they hoping for, Republicans who will pay their workers lots more money in EITC so their worker can buy more stuff and grow gdp by running up lots more debt?

Clearly, by cutting worker hours they are reducing production.

Unless some very cheap investments would replace workers at only a few dollars per hour, and they can't justify making investments as long as Republicans are subsidizing labor costs so capitalism is unprofitable.

The decision to cut workers hours isn't made on the margin? Is that what you are trying to say? If is the result of some childish political calculus?

Sometimes it isn't made on the margin. Sometimes it is. Much different from the case of binary work-no work, where the analogous criticism would be more certainly on the mark.

I'm impressed, so far, on how this experiment is being run. I've assumed a minimum wage does have some negative effect on employment, but the effects can vary and there might be political economic reasons for doing it even so. Lots of things can influence a local economy. Also, there's no reason a minimum wage can't be tapered to suite the effects in a given situation once you understand the situation. I've also assumed a minimum wage has a limit on its effective range. It's not a cure all.

"Also, there’s no reason a minimum wage can’t be tapered to suite the effects in a given situation once you understand the situation."

Like in 2009 when unemployment was nearing 10% and the National increase was kept in place? Politics doesn't work that way.

Well if the working poor are making the same with less hours that sounds like a positive effect on their well being. More time for education, job training , leisure or a second job

Market wages in the United States are artificially low.

I find discussions of the minimum wage horribly limited by perspective. It is illegal in every American city I know of to become a self-employed push-cart vendor. Many other trades are licensed. One cannot operate a business out of the back of a pickup truck. For example, buy fruit and drive to the city and sell it out of the back of a pickup truck. In most cities people are not allowed to live in camper-trucks, from which they could operate businesses such as selling clothes or services, even prostitution or selling cheap liquor shots.

In short we have for closed off for average people every type of low barrier-to-entry business and then we wish them to work, but not for a minimum wage, but for "market" wages.

What is forgotton is that the market wages are artificial as a result of the incredible reduction of opportunity.

Umm..cool story bro.

Banning low value activity, yes it's popular with the deeper-pocketed and more influential large retailers and restaurants, etc. But I think it also forces a lot of people to get into something a little more productive. I personally like it when rules are lax (or not applied) for street hawking, vendors, etc. But I see few reasons to believe that it is good for development in a more advanced economy where such services are easily obtainable at decent prices at numerous other places which are more likely to follow rules of the formal economy, taxation, etc .

Someone who claims a willingness to wait for the evidence, but is happy to make a prejudgment of it's value ("doesn’t raise total earnings by much") can go ahead and stop collecting evidence right away, because his conclusions will always exactly match his theories. The way to spot these phonies is to look for prevarications like "by much".

No. You're supposed to state what you think ahead of time so that you can find out if you're surprised or not. if you're wrong, you try to find out.

Certainly, a dedicated fraud can manipulate any data to many ridiculous "conclusions".

Judge it on its merits. Stating your hypothesis is a critical part of the scientific method. We would not want researchers to be lying to themselves on such a very basic thing.

The real question is are idle hands are the devil's workshop? I still favor elimination of the minimum wage but this research weakens my support for elimination. I still fear black youth unemployment would go up with a $15 nationwide minimum wage. I also think that more will end up working illegally.

And I think that a $15 minimum wage would help me by pushing the worst service workers out therefore improving service.

The real conclusion is there is not much one can determine from this study, other than minimum wage increases to $11 are unlikely to be a disaster. The results are too sensitive to the attribution of wage increases to the minimum wage vs other factors.

"The results are too sensitive to the attribution of wage increases to the minimum wage vs other factors."

I suspect the various $15 per hour minimum wage increases will provide better data, particularly if the national minimum wage doesn't get raised during the implementation period.

More low income jobs is a counterintuitive but happy alternative to increased earnings per worker.

I'm very interested to see the longer term results. I live in Seattle and much of the campaigning for the minimum wage featured working mothers/fathers/families and highlighted their struggles to live off their wages. I agree with many of the comments that for those who lost their jobs (1%) then the minimum wage increase is not helpful, but for those who lost hours but saw no loss, or slight increase in income, this is a major success as same pay and less childcare and more opportunities for a second job or education or leisure seems like more disposable income and more opportunities.

Another question on this 'experiment' is this: what proportion of employees in Seattle work for businesses which also operate in places where the minimum wage didn't increase? If that proportion is high, is the overall effect of the local minimum wage increase a local economic stimulus (which may mitigate some of the employment effects). Are businesses simply funding the higher Seattle wages out of their overall revenue?

This reminds me of the problems with small-scale trials of universal basic income - when the UBI is funded from without it's an injection of additional funds, not a redistribution.

Seattle jobs under $15/hr where production is exported out of Seattle? Few and far between, no? I would be very surprised if there are more than a handful of business where more than just a couple jobs might be at play as a result.

I'm not talking about exporting out of Seattle. I'm talking about businesses that operate in other areas, like Walmart, Target, McDonalds, Starbucks (sorry if these aren't regionally appropriate - I'm not from America). If Walmart stores in Seattle become marginally less profitable because of a minimum wage increase, that's not such a big deal right? Unless those Seattle stores become so much less profitable that the company closes them, to some extent Walmart might just be funding those higher local wages out of its overall revenue (including from jurisdictions with much lower minimum wages).

I guess you could put it that way. But then there are those who think the status quo is a subsidy which pads Walmart profits.

Since Walmart's competitive advantage primarily comes through its supply chain management, more than likely they will be better positioned than competitors to competitively adjust their prices in response to the change in wages. I have nothing against the mom and pop outlets which are more likely to close than Walmart in response, but I assume it is much less likely for those businesses to be the locus of process and product innovations which contribute to technological progress.

I do, however, support many things to help them stay on their feet, ideally well above water, in the case that these competitive dynamics negatively affect their earning potential in the shorter term.

Note that so far they really don't have any results. In 2016, the minimum wages for employers with under 500 workers is $10.50, and was $10 last year. Almost all the lowest paid workers are with small employers.
http://murray.seattle.gov/minimumwage/#sthash.LAy3yuM5.ZyNN5Wc1.dpbs

The minimum wage for Washington state is $9.47. This is still a pretty small difference.
http://www.lni.wa.gov/WORKPLACERIGHTS/WAGES/MINIMUM/HISTORY/DEFAULT.ASP

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