EPI Criticizes Flawed Study on San Francisco Wage Hike By Biased Researchers at UC-Berkeley

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WASHINGTON, DC – The Employment Policies Institute today criticized as faulty a new report from a team of biased researchers affiliated with the University of California-Berkeley. The study relies on discredited assumptions about the impact of a higher minimum, and uses for support studies that have been roundly criticized by experts in the field.  

EPI is providing the following background on the study’s authors:

  • One of the study’s lead authors, Ken Jacobs, was previously the co-director of the San Francisco Living Wage Coalition
  • Both Jacobs and his co-author, Ian Perry, work at the Center for Labor Research and Education, which is funded by some of the same labor unions advocating for a minimum wage increase
  • Another one of the lead authors, Annette Bernhardt, is a visiting professor at the school, having left her job as policy co-director at the National Employment Law Project (NELP). NELP openly admits that it is “coordinating the campaign to lift the federal minimum wage to more  than $10 per hour.”

This study also relies on discredited assumptions from earlier reports that incorrectly suggest a minimum wage hike will have no impact on jobs. Specifically:

  • The overwhelming majority of studies since the early 1990s, including 85 percent of the most credible research, points to job losses following a minimum wage increase.
  • The UC-Berkeley team relies on a series of studies that were roundly discredited in a comprehensive report forthcoming in the respected Cornell economic journal Industrial and Labor Relations Review. Specifically, the forthcoming examination finds that “neither the conclusions of these studies nor the methods they use are supported by the data.”
  • Ironically, the Berkeley report’s authors criticize a report from the city’s Office of Economic Analysis, claiming that their results are only due to “assumptions made in the model.” Yet the exact same criticism applies to their own report, which only produces rosy results by assuming no job loss following a minimum wage hike.

Michael Saltsman, research director at the Employment Policies Institute, released the following statement:

These researchers had their minds made up about the minimum wage before they started writing page one of this study. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, San Francisco’s Office of Economic Analysis, and the vast majority of unbiased economic studies all confirm that a higher minimum wage will indeed reduce job opportunities for the least-experienced employees. San Francisco can take their word—or they can take the word of researchers funded by the same labor unions advocating for a wage hike.

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