Thursday, May 29, 2014

The State News on the minimum wage

My 15 minutes of fame in East Lansing were used up by this article in the MSU student newspaper.

The student reporter did a pretty good job of capturing my thoughts. The one exception is that I tried to emphasize that what leads businesses to substitute customer effort and/or capital for labor is changes in relative prices more broadly. The minimum wage is just one source of those. Part of the reason for recent changes, such as replacing counter people at fast-food restaurants with screens and self-checkout at drug stores, is presumably more about reductions in the cost of the capital involved rather than movements in wages levels.

I was impressed with the thoughtfulness of the business owners interviewed for the article as well. I wonder how many she sampled to get these responses.

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