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Sociological Images

Inspiring sociological imaginations everywhere.
Dec 19 '13
What’s a fair minimum wage?
Today the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. If it had kept pace with the rising incomes of the 1%, though, it’d be $22.62. Would it be crazy to raise it that high?

"[Such a large increase] may seem outlandish, but previous research indicates American workers have just about earned it. Worker productivity has more than doubled since 1968, and if the minimum wage had kept pace with productivity gains it would have been $21.72 last year. From 2000 to 2012 alone workers boosted their productivity by 25 percent yet saw their earnings fall rather than rise, leading some economists to label the early 21st century a lost decade for American workers.”

Read more from our resident economist at Sociological Images.

What’s a fair minimum wage?

Today the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. If it had kept pace with the rising incomes of the 1%, though, it’d be $22.62. Would it be crazy to raise it that high?

"[Such a large increase] may seem outlandish, but previous research indicates American workers have just about earned it. Worker productivity has more than doubled since 1968, and if the minimum wage had kept pace with productivity gains it would have been $21.72 last year. From 2000 to 2012 alone workers boosted their productivity by 25 percent yet saw their earnings fall rather than rise, leading some economists to label the early 21st century a lost decade for American workers.”

Read more from our resident economist at Sociological Images.

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