Raw Data

RAW DATA….Does a higher minimum wage lead to higher unemployment? A conservative friend sent me some raw data on the subject, which I converted into the handy scatterplot on the right. It shows the minimum wage vs. the unemployment rate for 18 European countries plus the United States. Here’s our email exchange, complete and unabridged:

From: Conservative Friend
To: Kevin Drum

It?s hard for me to find any evidence that high minimum wages cause unemployment.

From: Kevin Drum
To: Conservative Friend

Hmmm. I’m not sure this meets even my low polemical standards. Surely minimum wage ought to be expressed as a % of median (or something similar), and unemployment would have to be measured consistently between countries and then averaged over a few years?

From: Conservative Friend
To: Kevin Drum

This is why your side is losing. If these data showed that the higher the minimum wage, the higher the unemployment rate, I can almost guarantee that it would be in tomorrow?s Wall Street Journal.

I find his conclusion hard to argue with.

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