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Abstract

In January 2004 and January 2005 the state of Illinois increased its minimum wage to $5.50 and then $6.50, well above the national minimum of $5.15. This study, comparing the impacts on Illinois fast food outlets to a control group of Indiana outlets, was conceived as a repetition of the Card-Krueger study of a similar situation in New Jersey. The central question is whether the Illinois outlets demonstrated a substantial reduction in employment in response to the higher legislated wage rates. We conclude that the Illinois-Indiana data lack the power to differentiate between a "zero employment effect" and a "small negative employ-ment effect." Furthermore, we question the welfare significance of such a determination even if it could be convincingly made.

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