- NYC: “Restaurateurs Are Scrambling to Cut Service and Raise Prices After Minimum Wage Hike” [M. Tara Crowl, Eater NY via Mark J. Perry, AEI, who has more] Next step for SEIU in New York: demand for laws prohibiting firing of fast food workers without “good cause” [Patrick McGeehan, New York Times, Billy Binion, Reason]
- In “the popular discourse that all that matters are ‘jobs,’ as if it were 1933, not the vast range of the terms of employment — how hard you have to work, hours, tasks, flexibility, side benefits, overtime, and so forth.” [John Cochrane recommending Jonathan Meer draft via David Henderson]
- As the late Paul Heyne taught, economics “contributes to questions of justice – because it imposes the constraints of reality, and because it reminds us that the ethics appropriate for a family cannot work in a commercial society (without lapsing into authoritarian paternalism).” [Nikolai Wenzel]
- Treatment of tipped workers in minimum wage laws responds to political pressures [Richard Mackenzie, Regulation magazine]
- Workers search more for employment at right around the time of a minimum wage increase, but the effect does not last [Camilla Adams, Jonathan Meer, and CarlyWill Sloan, Cato Research Briefs in Economic Policy]
- “Do Minimum Wage Increases Raise Crime Rates?” [Ryan Bourne on NBER paper by Zachary Fone, Joseph Sabia and Resul Cesur]
New from me and Cato colleague Ryan Bourne in the Washington Post:
One thing we’ve learned in this year’s debate over a statewide $15 minimum wage, now set to become law after the legislature overrode Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) veto today, is that affluent central Maryland doesn’t want to listen to hard-hit rural Maryland….
In the debate over the $15 minimum wage, lawmakers from [already high-wage] Montgomery County, Baltimore City and Howard County were nearly unanimously in favor, with most delegates supporting strong versions of the scheme. Meanwhile, most lawmakers from depressed parts of the state were passionately opposed.
Guess who had the numbers to outvote whom?…
Affluent sections of Maryland can vote for $15 without much worry that a large share of their job base will disappear. Poor counties can’t.
Whole thing here (update: unpaywalled version). Related: Highly informative Jacob Vigdor/Russ Roberts interview on the Seattle studies, and on the strategies that employers (restaurants in particular) use to adjust [David Henderson, Econlib] More on the problems of applying a uniform law to portions of the country with seriously different wage levels and costs of living [Daniel McLaughlin, NRO] Some observations of mine at an earlier stage of the Maryland debate [Free State Notes] Ryan Bourne on adjustments at Whole Foods following its accession under political pressure to a $15 minimum [Cato].
By most injury-suit standards, it’s hardly exorbitant: “Curtis Brooner is only seeking $9,026.16. That is still a lot given the nature of the alleged injury, namely being locked for an hour in the bathroom of a Burger King in Wood Village, Oregon. … Here, though, it’s not the amount but how it was calculated: Mr. Brooner is demanding the equivalent of one Whopper meal per week for the duration of his remaining life expectancy, which he and his attorney estimate will be another 22 years.” [Kevin Underhill, Lowering the Bar]
- Politicians interfere with a complex industry they don’t understand: when the $15 minimum wage came to New York car washes [Jim Epstein, Reason: article, 13:32 video]
- “D.C. Repeals a Minimum Wage Hike That Restaurant Workers Didn’t Want” [Eric Boehm, Reason] “Tipping lawsuit leads popular Salem restaurant to declare bankruptcy” [Dan Casey, Roanoke Times]
- Challenging a premise: “Why a federal minimum wage?” [Scott Sumner] “Pew Map Shows One Reason a National $15 Minimum Wage Won’t Work” [Joe Setyon, Reason]
- New evidence on effects of Seattle $15 minimum: benefits go to workers with relatively high experience, “8% reduction in job turnover rates as well as a significant reduction in the rate of new entries into the workforce.” [NBER] “Minimum wage hike in Venezuela shuts stores, wipes out many jobs” [Hans Bader]
- “Ontario labour minister’s office vandalized after minimum wage cap announced” [Canadian Press, CBC background of Ford provincial government rollback of Wynne-era labor measures]
- DoL plans new rules on joint-employer definition [Jaclyn Diaz, Bloomberg; Alex Passantino, Seyfarth Shaw, earlier]
- Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Ro Khanna introduce legislation to punish employers whose workforce draws on government programs, and even lefty Center for Budget and Policy Priorities sees plenty of problems with that [Steve Goldstein/MarketWatch; Robert Greenstein, Sharon Parrott, Chye-Ching Huang, CBPP; Zuri Davis, Reason; related Ryan Bourne thread]
- “Prevailing Wage Legislation and the Continuing Significance of Race” [David E. Bernstein, Notre Dame Journal on Legislation]
- Study finds that after Minnesota jacked up minimum wage, youth employment and restaurant employment fell, restaurant prices rose [Noah Williams, Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy]
- In a sleeper SCOTUS case this term, Encino Motorcars v. Navarro, on whether service advisors at car dealerships are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Justice Thomas for a 5-4 majority came down in favor of the position that FLSA exemptions should be read fairly, rather than narrowly; let’s hope this points to a wider retreat from the unsound practice of reading unnatural breadth into purportedly remedial statutes even when they contain no instruction to do so [Federalist Society podcast with Tammy McCutchen; Sachin Pandya/Workplace Prof (critical of ruling), Andrew Strom/On Labor (likewise)]
- “Why a Democratic City Council Is Working With a Republican Congress To Overturn a Minimum Wage Bill” [Eric Boehm on D.C.’s Initiative 77] “How Regulation Eliminated Your Waiter” [Ira Stoll on California labor laws]
- 1915 study on Oregon: “The belief was very prevalent among store women that the minimum wage had wrought only harm to them as a whole.” [David Henderson quoting Marie L. Obenauer and Bertha von der Nienburg, Bureau of Labor Statistics]
“Two city legislators on Tuesday are expected to announce legislation banning on-site workplace cafeterias in an effort to promote and support local restaurants.” The Golden Gate Restaurant Association, embracing the role of villains in an Ayn Rand novel, are backing the measure, sponsored by San Francisco supervisors Ahsha Safai and Aaron Peskin. The bill would be prospective only, so that while the famed in-house dining options at tech headquarters like Twitter’s could continue, new corporate arrivals would not be allowed to start anything similar. [Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, San Francisco Examiner]
- Protected class designation as departure from viewpoint neutrality: D.C. council proposal would make support for (but not opposition to) abortion a discrimination-law protected category in health care employment [Abortion Provider Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2017, Bill 22-0571, via Katie Glenn, Washington Examiner]
- You’ve heard of space junk, here’s statutory junk [David Schoenbrod, Cato Regulation magazine]
- “The Regulation of Language”: “countries that adopt a planned order approach to language, also do so in their law, and similarly rely on a planned order approach in their economy” [Yehonatan Givati, Journal of Law and Economics forthcoming/SSRN]
- “You typically don’t think of pizza chains as being recipients of government bailouts, but in a sense, that’s what happened here.” [Dan Lewis, Now I Know, cheese promotion]
- Federal judge in Southern District of Mississippi wants race and gender hiring set-asides for legal work in receivership case, which is not fair to victims of Ponzi scheme whose interests are under care [Scott Greenfield]
- Trademark claims on “Ruby Tuesday,” who can hang a name on you? [Timothy Geigner, TechDirt]
- California Supreme Court ruling on employee classification (Dynamex) expected to deal blow to gig economy [TaxProf, Bloomberg Daily Labor Report]
- Attorney fee request shows part of what’s wrong with Fair Labor Standards Act [Jon Hyman]
- Ninth Circuit: offshore platform workers entitled to hourly pay for 24 hours/day, including time sleeping [WLF on Newton v. Parker Drilling Management Services, Inc.]
- Employees, too: “D.C. gay bars launch campaign against ‘tipped wage’ measure” [Lou Chibbaro, Jr., Washington Blade]
- Study of restaurant employment: “Industry Dynamics and the Minimum Wage” [Daniel Aaronson, Eric French, Isaac Sorkin, & Ted To, Cato Research Briefs in Economic Policy] The “empirical evidence on the effect on minimum wages on employment is mixed. The empirical evidence on the effect of minimum wages on prices is pretty clear—it raises prices.” [Scott Sumner]
- Carceral progressivism: “Rethinking wage theft criminalization” [Ben Levin/On Labor, Terri Gerstein and David Seligman response, rejoinder]
“An oft-forgotten provision of Obamacare is being pushed over the finish line by Trump’s FDA.” [Helena Bottemiller Evich, Politico; Jacob Sullum (FDA overstates evidence); Mike Riggs (FDA honcho Scott Gottlieb “is not a free market firebrand”); Christian Schneider, USA Today] Earlier on FDA menu labeling here.