We Were Told There Would Be No Math

31 07 2016


Deceptive headline.

Because Seattle’s min-wage isn’t even up to $15 yet.  It’s being stair-stepped up to $15 over time.  In April 2015, it was raised to $10 or $11, depending, and this research proving that the min-wage increase hasn’t negatively affected employment rates was done based on that particular wage floor, even though it saw another stair-step increase on January 1.  It won’t be for another four and a half years until it reaches its final destination of $15.

The reason it hasn’t been deleterious is that Seattle is a fairly expensive city, and $10 or $11 isn’t much anyway.  As you can read, the average or median (it is not stated which) hourly wage for a “low wage worker” before the first stair step was $9.96, so it’s not as if the new floor was much above the equilibrium.

Another issue is that the study depends on the researchers comparing the real Seattle to a “synthetic Seattle” based on nearby suburban Seattle zip codes that had comparable characteristics.  My brain is a bit frozen at the minute, but if I let it unfreeze and gave it some thought, I could come up with some methodological problems with that.

Or, maybe we’ll find out that this research was purely political pseudo-science meant to peddle an ulterior agenda.



4 responses

31 07 2016

the minimum wage isn’t really a big issue, its been falling for decades due to inflation with no real positive gain to the economy. Likewise the states with a higher than average minimum wage don’t have the lowest youth employment stats, that honor falls to the border states.

31 07 2016

Nationally the min-wage is well below equilibrium, which would still be equilibrium even if there was no min-wage.

31 07 2016

This is the second “synthetic city” study I’ve seen. I’m not sure how they can create a “synthetic city” as if they can account for all variables and say that it represents what “would have happened if…”


“Much of that success, though, can be attributed to trends separate from the minimum-wage law itself, such as the growth of Seattle’s tech sector and its construction boom, according to a new report that University of Washington researchers presented to the City Council on Monday.”

Tech workers, assuming you mean people doing programming or even graphic design do NOT make minimum wage or anything near it so if most of the “success” is due to people who weren’t making minimum wage to begin with, then how is this a “success” at all?

1 08 2016

I bet the first place you saw “synthetic city” in a lame attempt to “prove” that a left of center policy is either beneficial or non-destructive is the famous Card study about the Mariel boat lift in ’80 and its affect on wages and salaries in the Miami era in the ensuing years. In the first article, you’ll see the words “synthetic control.” Which means I can now make a mental note: When I see or hear or read “synthetic city,” I will automatically conclude that I’m reading politically loaded pseudo-science.



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