Public Choice

, Volume 147, Issue 1, pp 209-225

First online:

Determinants of congressional minimum wage support: the role of economic education

  • J. Brian O’RoarkAffiliated withDepartment of Economics and Legal Studies, Robert Morris University Email author 
  • , William C. WoodAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, James Madison University

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Much has been made about the lack of economic education among the public at large, yet little has been said about the limited education of Members of Congress. This paper examines the economic education levels of Members of Congress voting on the 2007 increase in the minimum wage. Controlling for a variety of characteristics of members and constituents, this study finds that members who majored in economics as undergraduates were less likely to vote for the minimum wage increase than their colleagues. No other major had a consistent influence. A large number of statistical specifications confirm the robustness of the finding.


Economic education Congressional voting behavior Minimum wage

JEL Classification

A20 D72 J38