Do State Minimum Wage Laws Reduce Employment? Mixed Messages from Fast Food Outlets in Illinois and Indiana

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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Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, 40, 2
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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2019-08-29

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