Survey: Majority of Economists Believe $15 Wage is Too High

A new survey by Carnegie Mellon University professor Lloyd Corder for the Employment Policies Institute found a significant majority of responding economists oppose raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. In fact, a plurality (43%) agreed the wage should be the current federal rate of $7.25 per hour or lower.

In February 2022, a survey was sent to American economists currently affiliated with the Institute of Labor Economics. Responses from 160 of these economists shed light on their views on what current research says about raising minimum wages and how it will affect the economy.

Key findings include:

  • Youth employment: Three-quarters of economists feel that an increase to a $15 minimum wage would have a negative effect on employment for those younger than 20.
  • Small businesses: Eighty-one percent of economists agree that the impact of raising the federal minimum wage to $15 would have a negative impact on small businesses of less than 50 employees.
  • Inflation: A majority (58%) of economists believe raising the federal minimum wage to $15 will contribute to inflation following the pandemic.
  • Automation: Eighty-six percent believe a $15 minimum wage will cause increased automation to replace workers’ tasks.
  • Hospitality and restaurants: Most economists (70%) believe a $15 federal minimum wage will reduce the number of jobs in the hospitality industry, and 73% agree eliminating the federal tip credit will reduce the number of tipped jobs available

Economists also overwhelmingly agreed other programs were more likely to boost wages instead of a $15 minimum wage hike. For example, 83% of economists agreed earned income tax credits, which supplement wages based on employees’ income level, marital status, and number of children, are efficient at addressing poverty. Three-fourths (75%) believe the same about general welfare supports such as food stamps. Only 38% believe a $15 federal minimum wage would alleviate poverty in the same way.

These findings support the overwhelming majority of studies demonstrating minimum wage hikes have negative economic consequences including employment loss and business closure. In fact, a Congressional Budget Office report last year assessing the Raise the Wage Act of 2021’s proposal to raise the federal wage to $15 per hour and eliminate the federal tip credit would have killed up to 2.7 million jobs.

Read the full results of the survey in the Washington Free Beacon.