The Minimum Wage and Poverty

by Ramesh Ponnuru

My Bloomberg column this week on the minimum wage cited a 2010 study about who would benefit from an increase to $9.50, which was then being debated. Democrats have upped the demand to $10.10, and Jarrett Skorup points out to me that the study has been updated. He writes:

A working paper from professors Joseph Sabia of San Diego State University and Richard Burkhauser from Cornell University suggests that increasing the minimum wage is a poor way to deal with the problem of poverty.

Analyzing Census data, the professors show that, “Under 15 percent of workers who would be affected by a $10.10 federal minimum wage live in poor households. Nearly two-thirds live in households with incomes of over two times the poverty line and approximately 40 percent live in households with incomes over three times the poverty line.”