The minimum wage and poverty among full-time workers
- Cite this article as:
- Vedder, R. & Gallaway, L. J Labor Res (2002) 23: 41. doi:10.1007/s12122-002-1016-4
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V. Conclusions The empirical evidence is strong that minimum wages have had little or no effect on poverty in the U.S. Indeed, the evidence is stronger that minimum wages occasionally increase poverty. It also suggests that the minimum wage does not even lower poverty for the one group that, almost by definition, one would expect to be helped: full-time, year-round workers. While the empirical results suggest minimum wages do not achieve what is ostensibly their primary goal — relieving poverty among the working poor — minimum wages do seem to impose a real cost on society in terms of lost income and output. The empirical evidence on work hours suggests that a $1 increase in the minimum wage, far from being almost costless, could conceivably impose income losses to American workers in the $12-15 billion range per year — an amount equal to the “income deficit” of millions of persons counted as poor by the U.S. Bureau of the Census.