Low-Wage Workers and the “New” Industrial Reserve Army of Labor

October 17, 2014
By Oren M. Levin-Waldman

The standard minimum wage model that predicts that increases in the minimum wage will result in lower employment rests on the assumption that workers are nothing more than factors of production. As factors of production, they are simply inanimate objects that are easily interchangeable, either with other similar inanimate objects or more technologically advanced ones.


Why the Minimum Wage is Important

July 9, 2014
By Oren M. Levin-Waldman

Amidst the debate over whether the minimum wage really helps those at the bottom or whether it causes more unemployment, we often lose sight of why it was needed in the first place. Today the debate over the minimum wage has become a side show between those who argue that it results in disemployment and those who argue that it benefits the poor.


The Minimum Wage and the New Federalism?

September 26, 2014
Oren M. Levin-Waldman

Among the topics that often rise to the top of the debate in most national elections is just what the proper relationship is between the states and the national government. In other words, has federal authority usurped state sovereignty, or is more federal authority needed because the states are untrustworthy guardians of individuals’ rights? It would appear that the many states that have taken it upon themselves to either adopt their own minimum wages or raise existing ones over the federal have only rekindled the traditional states’ rights v. national authority debate, albeit it in a different form.


Sources of Wage Inequality?

June 20, 2014
Oren M. Levin-Waldman
, Ph.D.

The conventional explanation for growing wage inequality is often referred to as the skills-biased towards technical change theory. This holds that with globalization and increased capital mobility, the economy has changed from industrial production to a post-industrial service based economy. The former did not need a greatly skilled workforce, but the latter, being  technologically more advanced, did require much greater skill.


The Meaning of Markets

July 25, 2014
Oren M. Levin-Waldman, Ph.D.

Those who oppose regulations of any type, including mandates to pay workers a specified minimum wage, often invoke the language of free markets. In a market economy, the argument goes, individuals should be free to enter into transactions, whether it be for the purchase of goods and services or labor services.


The Minimum Wage and those Inconvenient Facts

April 3, 2014
Oren Levin-Waldman, Ph.D.

Critics of the minimum wage often assert that not only is it misguided because of its adverse employment effects, but it is poorly targeted because most minimum wage earners are not poor. Rather they are secondary earners who are either spouses or teenagers. And those who scoff at claims of income inequality maintain that those at the bottom lack the skills necessary to command higher wages in an economy ever more biased towards advanced technology and skills. But these claims are really half-truths that miss some inconvenient facts.