jueves, 27 de agosto de 2015

[Manifiesto] Economists for $15 Federal Minimum Wage as of 2020


The real, inflation-adjusted, value of the federal minimum wage has fallen dramatically over time. The real value of the federal minimum wage peaked in 1968 at 10.85 an hour, 50 percent above the current level. Moreover, since 1968, average U.S. labor productivity has risen by roughly 140 percent. This means that, if the federal minimum wage had risen in step with both inflation and average labor productivity since 1968, the federal minimum wage today would be $26.00 an hour. (References for all data cited in this petition can be found here: http://www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/resources/Technical_Appendix_15_Minimum.pdf)

If a worker today is employed full time for a full 52-week year at a minimum wage job today, she or he is making $15,080. This is 21 percent below the official poverty line for a family of three. Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would deliver much needed living standard improvements to 76 million U.S. workers and their families. The average age for these workers is 36 years old and they have been in the labor force for an average of 17 years. Only 6 percent of the workers who would benefit from this minimum wage increase are teenagers; i.e., 94 percent are adults.

Numerous states and municipalities throughout the United States are already operating with minimum wage standards above the $7.25 federal minimum. Thus, 29 states plus Washington, DC maintain minimum wages between $7.50 and $9.50. These measures cover 61 percent of the U.S. population. The cities of Los Angeles, Seattle, and San Francisco have all established $15 minimum wage standards that, for all three cases, will be fully phased in as of 2021. A $13 minimum wage will be operating in Chicago as of 2019. Other cities, including New York and Washington, DC, are presently considering similar measures. The State of New York is also examining a $15 minimum wage proposal for the fast-food industry.

Opponents of minimum wage increases frequently argue that such measures will mean fewer employment opportunities for low-wage workers because businesses will be less willing to hire workers at the increased wage level. But the weight of evidence from the extensive professional literature has, for decades, consistently found that no significant effects on employment opportunities result when the minimum wage rises in reasonable increments. This is because the increases in overall business costs resulting from a minimum wage increase are, for the most part, modest.

We recognize that raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour as of 2020 would entail an increase that is significantly above the typical pattern with federal minimum wage increases. Nevertheless, through a well-designed four-year phase-in process, businesses will be able to absorb the cost increases through modest increases in prices and productivity as well as enabling low-wage workers to receive a slightly larger share of businesses’ total revenues. On average, even fast-food restaurants, which employ a disproportionate share of minimum wage workers, are likely to see their overall business costs increase by only about 2.8 percent per year through a four-year phase in to a $15 federal minimum wage by 2020. That means, for example, that McDonalds could cover fully half of the cost increase by raising the price of a Big Mac, on average, by 7 cents per year for four years—i.e. from $4.80 to $5.08. The remaining half of the adjustment could come through small productivity gains or a modestly more equal distribution of the increase in revenues generated by the U.S. economy’s overall rate of economic growth.

The economy overall will benefit from the gains in equality tied to the minimum wage increase and related policy initiatives. Greater equality means working people have more spending power, which in turn supports greater overall demand in the economy. Greater equality also means less money is available to flow into the types of hyper-speculative financial practices that led to the 2008-09 Wall Street crash and subsequent Great Recession.

Moreover, the overwhelming factor determining employment opportunities for low-wage workers is macroeconomic conditions—whether the economy is growing or in a recession. Thus, in 1968, when the U.S. minimum wage reached $10.85 in real dollars, the overall unemployment rate was 3.6 percent. By contrast, during the depths of the 1982 recession, the real value of the minimum wage had fallen to $8.22 while unemployment peaked at 10.8 percent.

In short, raising the federal minimum to $15 an hour by 2020 will be an effective means of improving living standards for low-wage workers and their families and will help stabilize the economy. The costs to other groups in society will be modest and readily absorbed.

Signers (Institutional listing for identification purposes only):


  1. Randy Albelda, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Boston
  2. Lluis Rodriguez Algans, CNT Trade Union
  3. Peter Arno, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Lehman College, City University of New York
  4. Michael Ash, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  5. M.V. Lee Badget, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  6. Brook K. Baker, J.D., Northeastern University School of Law
  7. Nesecan Balkan, Ph.D., Hamilton College
  8. Avraham Baranes, Ph.D., Rollins College
  9. David Barkin, Ph.D., Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco
  10. Deepankar Basu, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  11. Lourdes Benería, Ph.D., Cornell University
  12. Peter H. Bent, University of Massachusetts-Amherst and University of Oxford
  13. Cyrus Bina, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
  14. Ron Blackwell, Chief Economist, AFL-CIO (Retired)
  15. Marc Blecher, Ph.D., Oberlin College
  16. Eileen Boris, Ph.D., University of California-Santa Barbara
  17. Howard Botwinick, Ph.D., State University of New York-Cortland
  18. Roger Even Bove, Ph.D., West Chester University
  19. James K. Boyce, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  20. Michael Brün, Ph.D., Illinois State University
  21. Robert Buchele, Ph.D., Smith College
  22. Antonio Callari, Ph.D., Franklin and Marshall College
  23. Al Campbell, Ph.D., University of Utah
  24. Jim Campen, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Boston
  25. Michael Carter, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Lowell
  26. Scott Carter, Ph.D., The University of Tulsa
  27. Shouvik Chakraborty, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  28. John Chasse, Ph.D., State University of New York, Brockport
  29. Ying Chen, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  30. Robert Chernomas, Ph.D., University of Manitoba
  31. Kimberly Christensen, Ph.D., Sarah Lawrence College
  32. Alan B. Ciblis, Ph.D., Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento
  33. Peter Cole, Ph.D., Western Illinois University
  34. Bruce E. Collier, Ph.D., Association for Social Economics
  35. James Crotty, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  36. Stephen Cullenberg, Ph.D., University of California, Riverside
  37. Jane D’Arista, Political Economy Research Institute
  38. Flavia Dantas, Ph.D., SUNY - Cortland
  39. Paul Davidson, Ph.D., University of Tennessee
  40. Erik Dean, Ph.D., Portland Community College
  41. Carmen Diana Deere, Ph.D., University of Florida
  42. George DeMartino, Ph.D., University of Denver
  43. Gregory DeFreitas, Ph.D., Hofstra University
  44. Alan Derickson, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University
  45. James G. Devine, Ph.D., Loyola Marymount University
  46. G. William Domhoff, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz
  47. Peter Dreier, Ph.D., Occidental College
  48. Thomas L. Dublin, Ph.D., State University of New York, Binghampton
  49. Gary Dymski, Ph.D., Leeds University Business School
  50. Peter Dorman, Ph.D., Evergreen State College
  51. Veronika V. Eberharter, Ph.D., University of Innsbruck
  52. Barry Eldin, Ph.D., McGill University
  53. Gerald Epstein, Ph.D, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  54. Rudy Fichtenbaum, Ph.D., Wright State University
  55. Deborah M. Figart, Ph.D., Stockton University
  56. Alfredo Saad Filho, Ph.D., University of London
  57. Andrew M. Fischer, Ph.D., Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam
  58. Sean Flaherty, Ph.D., Franklin & Marshall College
  59. Nancy Folbre, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  60. Gerald Friedman, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  61. Kevin Furey, , Chemeketa Community College
  62. James K. Galbraith, Ph.D., University of Texas-Austin
  63. John Luke Gallup, Ph.D., Portland State University
  64. Ina Ganguli, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  65. Jorge Garcia-Arias, Ph.D., University of Leon
  66. Heidi Garrett-Peltier, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  67. Barbara Garson
  68. Armaan Gezici, Ph.D., Keene State College
  69. G. Reza Ghorashi, Ph.D., Stockton University
  70. Helen Lachs Ginsburg, Ph.D., Brooklyn College, City University of New York
  71. Jonathan P. Goldstein, Ph.D., Bowdoin College
  72. April Gordon, Winthrop University
  73. Ilene Grabel, Ph.D., University of Denver
  74. Jerry Gray, Ph.D., Willamette University
  75. Josh Greenstein, Ph.D., Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  76. Daphne Greenwood, Ph.D., University of Colorado-Colorado Springs
  77. Winston Griffith, Ph.D., Howard University
  78. Christopher Gunn,  Ph.D, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  79. Robert Guttman, Ph.D., Hofstra University
  80. Robin Hahnel, Ph.D., American University, Portland State University
  81. Eric Hake, Ph.D., Catawba College
  82. Martin Hart-Landsberg, Ph.D., Lewis and Clark College
  83. James Heintz, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  84. Lisa Henderson, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  85. John F. Henry, Ph.D., University of Missouri-Kansas City
  86. Arturo Hermann, Italian National Institute of Statistics
  87. Joan Hoffman, Ph.D., John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  88. Candace Howes, Ph.D., Connecticut College
  89. Michael Hudson, Ph.D., University of Missouri, Kansas City
  90. Dorene Isenberg, Ph.D., University of Redlands
  91. Russell Janis, Ph.D, J.D., University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  92. Tae-Hee Jo, Ph.D., State University of New York, Buffalo State
  93. Laurie Johnson, Ph.D., New York University
  94. Fadhel Kaboub, Ph.D., Denison University
  95. Rebecca E. Karl, Ph.D., History Department, New York University
  96. Mousa H. Kassis, Youngstown State University
  97. Farida C. Khan, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Parkside
  98. Mary C. King, Ph.D., Portland State University
  99. Tim Koechlin, Ph.D., Vassar College
  100. Harry Konstantinidis, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Boston
  101. David Laibman, Ph.D., Brooklyn College and Graduate School, City University of New York
  102. Thomas Lambert, Ph.D., Northern Kentucky University
  103. Margaret Levenstein, Ph.D., University of Michigan
  104. Oren M. Levin-Waldman, Ph.D., Metropolitan College of New York
  105. Ariana R. Levinson, Ph.D., University of Louisville
  106. Victor D. Lippit, Ph.D., University of California, Riverside
  107. Paul Lockard, Ph.D., Black Hawk College
  108. Daniel MacDonald, Ph.D., California State University San Bernadino
  109. Allan MacNeill, Ph.D., Webster University
  110. Mark Maier, Ph.D., Glendale Community College
  111. Arthur MacEwan, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Boston
  112. Ann Markusen, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
  113. J.W. Mason, Ph.D., John Jay College, City University of New York; Roosevelt Institute
  114. Patrick Mason, Ph.D., Florida State University
  115. Peter Hans Matthews, Ph.D., Middlebury College
  116. Peter B. Mayer, Ph.D., University of Louisville
  117. Scott McConnell, Ph.D., Eastern Oregon University
  118. Elaine McCrate, Ph.D., University of Vermont
  119. Terrence McDonough, Ph.D., National University of Ireland Galway
  120. Michael Meeropol, Ph.D., Western New England University
  121. Martin Melkonian, Hofstra University
  122. Dennis Merrill, Ph.D., University of Missouri-Kansas City
  123. Thomas Michl, Ph.D., Colgate University
  124. Marcelo Milan, Ph.D., Federal University of Rio Grade do Sul
  125. William Milberg, Ph.D., New School for Social Research
  126. John Miller, Ph.D., Wheaton College
  127. Paul Morse, University of Massachusetts Lowell
  128. Fred Moseley, Ph.D., Mount Holyoke College
  129. Philip I. Moss, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Lowell
  130. Tracy Mott, Ph.D., University of Denver
  131. Michael J. Murray, Ph.D., Bemidji State University
  132. Ellen Mutari, Ph.D., Stockton University
  133. Léonce Ndikumana, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  134. Don Negri, Ph.D., Willamette University
  135. Julie A. Nelson, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts-Boston
  136. Reynold F. Nesiba, Ph.D., Augustana College, Sioux Falls
  137. Eric Nilsson, Ph.D., California State University, San Bernadino
  138. Michael Nuwer, Ph.D., State University of New York, Potsdam
  139. Erik Olsen, Ph.D., University of Missouri Kansas City
  140. Spencer J. Pack, Ph.D., Connecticut College
  141. Aaron Pacitti, Ph.D., Siena College
  142. Zhaochang Peng, Ph.D., Rollins College
  143. Kenneth R. Peres, Ph.D., retired, Communications Workers of America
  144. Joseph Persky, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago
  145. Karen Pfeifer, Ph.D., Smith College
  146. Xuan Pham, Ph.D., Rockhurst University
  147. Bruce Pietrykowski, Ph.D., University of Michigan-Dearborn
  148. Frances Fox Piven, Ph.D., Graduate Center, City University of New York
  149. Robert Pollin, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  150. Mary Louise Pratt, Ph.D., New York University
  151. Paddy Quick, Ph.D., St. Francis College
  152. Devin T. Rafferty, Ph.D., St. Peter’s University
  153. Laura Reed, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  154. Robert Reich, University of California Berkeley
  155. Felipe Rezende, Ph.D., Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  156. Carl Riskin, Ph.D., Queens College, City University of New York
  157. Judith Robinson, Ph.D., Castleton State College
  158. Sergio Romero,  PhD, Department of Sociology, Boise State University
  159. Andrew Ross, Ph.D., New York University
  160. Robert J.S. Ross, Ph.D., Clark University
  161. Mario Seccareccia, Ph.D., University of Ottawa
  162. Malcolm Sawyer, Ph.D., University of Leeds
  163. Matías Scaglione, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
  164. Helen Scharber, Ph.D., Hampshire College
  165. Ted P. Schmidt, Ph.D., State University of New York, Buffalo State
  166. Geoff Schneider, Ph.D., Bucknell University
  167. Juliet B. Schor,  Ph.D., Boston College
  168. Elliot Sclar, Ph.D., Columbia University
  169. Carol Scotton, Ph.D., Knox College
  170. Stephanie Seguino, Ph.D., University of Vermont
  171. Alla Semenova, Ph.D., State University of New York - Potsdam
  172. Anwar Shaikh, Ph.D., New School for Social Research
  173. Zoe Sherman, Ph.D., Merrimack College
  174. Nathan Sivers-Boyce, Ph.D., Willamette University
  175. Bryan Snyder, Bentley University
  176. Peter Spiegler, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  177. Janet Spitz, Ph.D., The College of Saint Rose
  178. Howard Stein, Ph.D., University of Michigan
  179. Mary Huff Stevenson, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Boston
  180. Frank Thompson, Ph.D., University of Michigan
  181. Chris Tilly, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
  182. Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  183. E. Ahmet Tonak, Ph.D., Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey
  184. Mayo C. Toruño, Ph.D., California State University, San Bernadino
  185. Eric Tymoigne, Ph.D., Lewis & Clark College
  186. Hendrik Van den Berg, Ph.D., University of Nebraska and Mount Holyoke College
  187. William Van Lear, Ph.D., Belmont Abbey College
  188. Irene van Staveren, Ph.D., Erasmus University Rotterdam
  189. Roberto Veneziani, Ph.D., Queen Mary University of London
  190. Eric Verhoogen, Ph.D., Columbia University
  191. Matías Vernengo, Ph.D., Bucknell University
  192. Stephen Viederman, Consultant
  193. William T. Waller, Ph.D., Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  194. John P. Watkins, Ph.D., Westminster College
  195. John Weeks, Ph.D., University of London
  196. Thomas Weisskopf, Ph.D., University of Michigan
  197. Cathy Whiting, Ph.D., Willamette University
  198. Jeannette Wicks-Lim, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  199. John Willoughby, Ph.D., American University
  200. Tamar Diana Wilson, Ph.D., University of Missouri, St. Louis
  201. Jon D. Wisman, Ph.D., American University
  202. Judith Wittner, Ph.D., Loyola University
  203. Michael Wolff, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  204. Martin Wolfson, Ph.D., University of Notre Dame
  205. L. Randy Wray, Ph.D., Bard College and University of Missouri-Kansas City
  206. Zhun Xu, Ph.D., Howard University
  207. Ben Young, Ph.D., University of Missouri at Kansas City
  208. June Zaccone, Ph.D., Hofstra University
  209. David Zalewski, Ph.D., Providence College
  210. Roland Zullo, Ph.D., University of Michigan

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