What is the economic case for increasing the federal minimum wage? To even posit that question sounds odd. Proponents of a higher minimum wage claim that the policy change could alleviate all sorts of economic and social ills. But it’s worth assessing, from first principles, the economic arguments advanced for how the minimum wage level should be set. In a new brief, Cato scholar Ryan Bourne argues that the metrics that $15 minimum wage advocates use to make the case for substantial minimum wage hikes are not, on their own, economically sensible benchmarks by which to set minimum wage rates.
America’s surface transportation infrastructure needs significant improvements and rehabilitation, yet Congress is uncertain about how to do this. Some want to significantly increase federal spending on infrastructure. Others want to end deficit financing of transportation and end federal restrictions that reduce the efficiency and effectiveness of the funds that are spent. In a new paper, Cato scholar Randal O’Toolepresents three principles that Congress should apply to a new surface transportation funding bill. These principles are pay-as-you-go, user fees, and subsidiarity.
For decades, debates over the minimum wage have been tense among advocates, policymakers, and professional researchers alike. While professional economists were once broadly skeptical of the benefits of a minimum wage, that consensus has eroded. Following decades of moderate minimum wage changes, select cities and states have recently passed substantial increases. In a new paper, economics professor Jeffrey Clemens discusses four ways in which the case for large minimum wage increases is either mistaken or overstated.