A recent study from researchers with U.C. Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment suggests that cities which have implemented a higher minimum wage have seen “no significant negative employment effects.” This is just the latest flawed report from a team of researchers who’ve been exposed as working directly with labor advocates (and sometimes being funded by labor) to support the push for a higher minimum wage. Readers should both be skeptical about the bias of the study and know that mountains of research conducted on the effects of raising the minimum wage prove how harmful minimum wage mandates can be.
There have been multiple occasions where ties have been revealed between the Berkeley labor center and labor unions pushing their own agenda. A 2016 expose in the Albany Times Union, based on hundreds of pages of emails, showed that the Berkeley team was taking its talking points and agenda from labor groups. In some instances, the article reported, “the relationship between academic and funder seemed explicit…” Last year, the same Berkeley team was coordinating its “research” services to back up the political agenda of the Seattle Mayor’s office, after a neutral study on the city’s $15 minimum wage experiment showed less-than-stellar results. Seattle Weekly even headlined an article explaining the unseemly set: “The City Knew the Bad Minimum Wage Report Was Coming Out, So It Called Up Berkeley.”
More-credible studies from neutral third parties analyzing the effects of city minimum wage increases have shown that business closures, job loss, and a reduction in pay are all occurring from minimum wage hikes. Harvard Business School and Mathematica Policy research showed that every one-dollar increase in the minimum wage in the Bay Area has led to a 14 percent increase in closures for median rated restaurants. The Seattle-supported team of University of Washington researchers showed that Seattle’s minimum wage increase caused affected workers to see such a steep decline in work hours that they lost about $125 a month on average.