Well that's that then. The Globe's in-house contrarian, Maggie Wente, has read some study that finds the minimum wage hike introduced by the city of Seattle has made a complete shambles of its economy. Bad for Seattle ergo bad for Ontario, says Madam Wente.
Mags attributes the study to the University of Washington but it's actually pumped out by the National Bureau of Economic Research from Cambridge, Massachusetts. The good old NBER.
The Toronto Star, meanwhile, has an open letter signed by 40 Canadian economists who maintain Ontario's proposed minimum wage hike won't harm the province's economy. Perhaps they haven't heard of the NBER study.
Oh dear, who to believe, Margaret Wente or 40 Canadian economists. Wait a minute. How about this National Bureau of Economic Research Ms. Wente touts? Is NBER legit or is it on someone's payroll?
SourceWatch suggests NBER received millions in "conservative philanthropic
underwriting." MediaMatters reported on an earlier and deeply flawed NPER study that claimed a direct correlation between unemployment insurance and laziness.
While the NPER study has attracted rightwing media coverage like white on rice, no one mentions the flawed methodology used in the research.
Michael Reich, a UC Berkeley economics professor who was lead author on the Berkeley report, said he found the UW team’s report not credible for a number of reasons.
He said the UW researchers’ “synthetic” Seattle model draws only from areas in Washington that are nothing like Seattle, and the report excludes multisite businesses, which employ a large percentage of Seattle’s low-paid workforce. The latter fact was also problematic, he said, because that meant workers who left single-site businesses to work at multisite businesses were counted as job losses, not job gains in the UW study.
Reich also thought the $19 threshold was too low, and he said the UW researchers’ report “finds an unprecedented impact of wage increases on jobs, ten times more than in hundreds of minimum wage and non-minimum wage studies. … “There is no reason,” he said, that Seattle’s employers of low-paid workers “should be so much more sensitive to wage increases.”
Reich and economists at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute also criticized the report as not properly accounting for Seattle’s economic boom, which they say is causing the shift from lower-paid to higher-paid jobs.
Who to believe? Who knows? Certainly not Margaret Wente.