Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

December 24, 2013

Raising minimum wage might lift all boats

(Continued)

Experienced real estate agents said they ignored listing price in estimating selling price, but they were wrong. Experienced jurists (indeed anyone) would insist that they ignored the roll of a pair of dice in estimating a criminal sentence. But they would be wrong. If experienced jurists and real estate agents are powerfully affected by anchors, it would be naïve to imagine that employers won’t be.

Thus, aside from matters of justice and fairness, the purely instrumental argument for raising the minimum wage is that it will lead, over time, to a rise in the wage scale more generally. This will result in fewer people in poverty, fewer people just getting by, and less income inequality. It will give people more money to spend, thus stimulating the economy. Raising the minimum wage has the potential to affect everyone through the mechanism of anchoring, and not just those at the bottom. It seems that paying an extra quarter for a Big Mac is well worth it, given the potential massive benefits.

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