David Card and Alan B. Krueger have already made national news with their pathbreaking research on the minimum wage. Here they present a powerful new challenge to the conventional view that higher minimum wages reduce jobs for low-wage workers. In a work that has important implications for public policy as well as for the direction of economic research, the authors put standard economic theory to the test, using data from a series of recent episodes, including the 1992 increase in New Jersey's minimum wage, the 1988 rise in California's minimum wage, and the 1990-91 increases in the federal minimum wage. In each case they present a battery of evidence showing that increases in the minimum wage lead to increases in pay, but no loss in jobs.
A distinctive feature of Card and Krueger's research is the use of empirical methods borrowed from the natural sciences, including comparisons between the "treatment" and "control" groups formed when the minimum wage rises for some workers but not for others. In addition, the authors critically reexamine the previous literature on the minimum wage and find that it, too, lacks support for the claim that a higher minimum wage cuts jobs. Finally, the effects of the minimum wage on family earnings, poverty outcomes, and the stock market valuation of low-wage employers are documented. Overall, this book calls into question the standard model of the labor market that has dominated economists' thinking on the minimum wage. In addition, it will shift the terms of the debate on the minimum wage in Washington and in state legislatures throughout the country.
With a new preface discussing new data, Myth and Measurement continues to shift the terms of the debate on the minimum wage.
David Card is Class of 1950 Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley. Alan B. Krueger is Bendheim Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University.
"Our understanding of wage determination has been transformed by an intellectual revolution. . . . Until the Card-Krueger study, most economists, myself included, assumed that raising the minimum wage would have a clear negative effect on employment. But they found, if anything, a positive effect. Their result has since been confirmed using data from many episodes. There's just no evidence that raising the minimum wage costs jobs, at least when the starting point is as low as it is in modern America."--Paul Krugman, New York Times
"Card and Krueger didn't just question the conventional wisdom; they attacked it in a novel and powerful way. Instead of concocting a mathematical model and `testing' it with advanced statistical techniques, which is what most economists call research, they decided to test the theory in the real world. . . . The work of Card and Krueger was worth a hundred theoretical models in The American Economic Review."--John Cassidy, The New Yorker
"The Card-Krueger work is essentially correct: the minimum wage at levels observed in the United States has had little or no effect on employment. At the minimum, the book has changed the burden of proof in debates over the minimum, from those who stressed the potential distributional benefits of the minimum to those who stress the potential employment losses."--Richard B. Freeman, Journal of Economic Perspectives
"A very substantial book. . . . A highly persuasive collection of evidence. . . . An exemplary book."--J.W. Anderson, The Washington Post
"David Card and Alan Krueger have written a book that represents a phenomenal amount of careful and honest research and that will be a classic in the minimum wage literature and also in the broader field of empirical labor economics.... A model of how to do good believable research, this book will be influential for a long time."--Paul Osterman, Industrial and Labor Relations Review
Table of Contents
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Alan B. Krueger: