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    Obama cites DCRP's minimum wage research in State of the Union address

    The President called on lawmakers to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour in order "to make sure that full-time workers can earn a living wage."

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    Minimum Wage Effects Across State Borders: Estimates Using Contiguous Counties
    Arindrajit Dube, T. William Lester, and Michael Reich

    Abstract
    We use policy discontinuities at state borders to identify the effects of minimum wages on earnings and employment in restaurants and other low-wage sectors. Our approach generalizes the case study method by considering all local differences in minimum wage policies between 1990 and 2006. We compare all contiguous county pairs in the United States that straddle a state border and find no adverse employment effects. We show that traditional approaches that do not account for local economic conditions tend to produce spurious negative effects due to spatial heterogeneities in employment trends that are unrelated to minimum wage policies. Our findings are robust to allowing for long-term effects of minimum wage changes.

    Learn more about Dr. Lester’s research

    "We know our economy is stronger when we reward
    an honest day's work with honest wages," Obama said.

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    More information

    Bill Lester joined the DCRP faculty in the Fall of 2010 as an assistant professor specializing in economic development. His research focuses on the role of labor market institutions in fostering greater equity at the urban and metropolitan scales.

    Dr. Lester employs quantitative and qualitative methods drawn from the fields of labor economics, political science and regional development. His dissertation on living wage laws used a quantitative design to examine their impact on employment and firm growth in California cities and qualitatively compared the organization and evolution of living-wage coalitions given the political establishment in Chicago and San Francisco.


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