News from EPI Five Nobel Prize winners and other leading economists, joined by hundreds of others, urge a raise in the minimum wage

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NewsFlash: October 10, 2006

Conference call: Wednesday, 12 noon (Eastern) 

Five Nobel Prize winners and other leading economists, joined by hundreds of others, urge a raise in the minimum wage

Speakers:

Robert Solow:  Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Economics; Nobel Prize in Economics 1987

Alice M. Rivlin:  The Brookings Institution, Senior Fellow, and Director, Greater Washington Research Program; former Vice Chair, Federal Reserve; former Director, Office of Management and Budget

Henry Aaron:  The Brookings Institution, Senior Fellow, The Bruce and Virginia MacLaury Chair

Moderator:  Jared Bernstein: Economic Policy Institute, Senior Economist

As the purchasing power of the $5.15 minimum wage (last increased in 1997) continues to drop, 22 states and the District of Columbia have acted to help low-wage families by raising their state’s minimum wage, and six more states could join them in November. (AZ, CO, MO, MT, NV and OH)

Opponents of a minimum wage raise claim that it would overburden employers and stunt job growth. 

In a joint statement to be issued on Wednesday, October 11, many leading economists refute that contention. Endorsed by over 650 economists, the statement asserts that a modest raise in the minimum wage (from $1.00 to $2.50 per hour), with future increases indexed to protect the workers’ purchasing power, “can significantly improve the lives of low-income workers and their families, without the adverse effects that critics have claimed.”