The Instigator
Con (against)
22 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
1 Points

Resolved: The Minimum Wage Should be Increased

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Post Voting Period
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after 5 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/16/2014 Category: Economics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,106 times Debate No: 67162
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (22)
Votes (5)





Minimum wage: The minimum wage will be defined as the minimum compensation a worker will receive (from his employer) for preforming different forms of labor. The minimum wage is enforced by government laws. The current minimum wage, in the USA, is $7.25 an hour.

Increase: In order to avoid semantics (for example, someone arguing it should be increased by 0.001 cents an hour), I will specify: the person who accepts must support *at least* an increase to $10 an hour. Though, they can argue for an increase of much more if they wish.


1. No semantics or trolling

2. An forfeit will be considered a concession. However, if my opponent were to message me (or hopefully vice versa) with a valid reason as to why they could not debate, I would either 1) ask voters to ignore the FF, or 2) ask voters to leave the debate as a tie, and we could resume the debate at another date in time.

3. All arguments should be in the debate. Sources can be placed elsewhere, but a link to access those sources must be present in the argument (e.g. an external debate, link that debate at the end of an argument).

4. If you have any questions before the debate, post them in the comments

5. BOP is evenly split


R1: Acceptance. PRO presents his case.
R2: CON presents his case, PRO rebuts.
R3: Rebuttals, PRO concludes his case
R4: CON rebuttal and conclusion, PRO writes "No round as agreed upon" and nothing more.


Thank you 16K for havinhis debate with me.


Minimum wage pays less than welfare in 35 different states.

currently the minmum wage is 7.25 an hour.

Here is what welfare pays in a few different states:

State Hourly Wage Equivalent
Hawaii- $17.50
Alaska- $15.48
Massachusetts- $14.66
Connecticut- $14.23
Washington, D.C.- $13.99
New York- $13.13
New Jersey- $12.55
Rhode Island- $12.55
California- $11.59
Virginia- $11.11

It's more beneficial for a lot of minimum wage families to quit working and collect welfare. The fact that minimum wage jobs pay less than welfare ecourages people not to work. The government mandating a minimum wage increase would incentivize working. the minimum wage increase should be enough to equal possible welfare benefits from not working.

The government spends close to a trillion dollars a year on welfare spending.

This is money that businesses could be paying people if they were incentivized to work. These stats don't even include the people who are working and having to be partially subsidized by welfare. If there were a minimum wage increase, government could stop sunsidizing these corporations so they can pay less than a livable wage.


Raising the minimum wage reduces the poverty level. There is pretty much a consensus among economists about this fact.

A study by the University of Massachussets says;

"higher minimum wages moderately reduce the share of individuals with incomes below 50, 75 and 100 percent of the federal poverty line"

Here are a few of the benefits that the congressional budget office found would result from increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

Once the increases and decreases in income for all workers are taken into account, overall real income would rise by $2 billion.
Real income would increase, on net, by $5 billion for families whose income will be below the poverty threshold under current law, boosting their average family income by about 3 percent and moving about 900,000 people, on net, above the poverty threshold (out of the roughly 45 million people who are projected to be below that threshold under current law).
Families whose income would have been between one and three times the poverty threshold would receive, on net, $12 billion in additional real income. About $2 billion, on net, would go to families whose income would have been between three and six times the poverty threshold.
Real income would decrease, on net, by $17 billion for families whose income would otherwise have been six times the poverty threshold or more, lowering their average family income by 0.4 percent.


Raising the minimum wage helps out poor people by bringing them above the poverty level and raising it enough can dramatically reduce the amount of federal spending on welfare as well as incentivizing people to work. I hand ove the debate to my opponent. Good luck.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank Wylted for taking the challenge!

I will rebut my opponent’s arguments next round. As his arguments focused primarily on the poverty aspect of the debate (which I will respond to next round), my case will be primarily oriented towards the effect minimum wages have on employment.

==In Theory==

Before discussing the empirical literature (which is what I always do, come on, it’s me ;D) I will discuss what happens *in theory* when minimum wages are increased. I will present both the neoclassical and monopsony models, in order to clarify to the voters as to *why* the changes in employment occur the way they do. The empirical section will prove which theory is better supported in the actual world.

First, the neoclassical model. The neoclassical model is the model which is presented in most economic textbooks and is widely accepted by mainstream economists. The model in its most basic form assumes that labor and product markets are competitive. Setting the minimum wage above the equilibrium raises the firms cost of production, which leads to two economic effects. First, the price of output increases, so the demand for it falls (output is defined as the quantity of goods or services produced over a given time period). Second, the higher wages lead the firms to substitute capital for labor. This leads to a decrease in the demand for labor. In the empirical literature, this is measured through labor elasticity: this is basically a measure as to how much unemployment is created due to the increase of the minimum wage [1]. The model also assumes that all workers are being paid in excess of the previous minimum wage. Though, in the US, this is not far from the truth (as 90% of workers are paid above the minimum wage), it is still a simplification made by the model.

The second theory is the monopsony model. The neoclassical model assumes a competitive market, so one company cannot set the equilibrium wage: it is created through competition, and the minimum wage, as a mandated price floor, disrupts the process and leads to a net-loss of jobs. The monopsony model takes the opposite extreme. The model assumes that individual firms do have control over the wage equilibrium, and assumes much less competition than the previous model. In the standard form, the ‘monopsonist’ is what represents the employer’s side. It is generally one firm. The collection of workers represent the homogenous workers, who are all paid the same wage. Due to the fact the monopsonist is the only employer, and is facing an ever increasing supply curve and increases wages in order to entice workers. If the minimum wage is not set too high, there can actually be an increased level of employment, as the firm (who is raising wages) sees more of a supply in labor, and therefore has lower employment costs [2]. Although this is a possibility, it is generally not accepted as it would not apply well towards a national minimum wage policy. The equilibrium wage varies across industries, skill sets, and regions—the labor market simply is not homogeneous in the real world, and it is very seldom that a monopsonist actually exists.

To settle the question as to which theory is correct, we must turn to the empirical literature. Both theories work on paper, but it is the result in the real world which accurately tells us which theory is valid.

==Empirical evidence on employment effects==

The empirical evidence in the minimum wage debate is very one-sided. In almost every review (except a few critical studies, e.g, Myth and Measurement [3]), the literature has concluded that the burgeoning literature supports the theory that higher minimum wages reduce employment levels.

The first systemic review of the literature was published in 1981. This study created the ‘consensus’ estimate regarding the elasticity of minimum wages. They found a 10% increase in the minimum wage led to elasticity measurements of -0.1 to -0.3. In other words, a 10% increase in the minimum wage led to a 1-3% decrease in employment for low skilled workers [4].

A second review by the Joint Economic Committee came to similar conclusions. They found that, not only do minimum wage laws reduce employment, but they reduce on the job training which lead to lower incomes in the long term (although they do get a temporary increased wage). They find that the vast preponderance of evidence demonstrates the negative effects of the minimum wage [5]. The following graph, which was produced by the same report, shows a close correlation between real minimum wage levels and teenage unemployment [6]:

A newer review published in 2006 corroborated these earlier summaries, concluding “a sizable majority of the studies... give a relatively consistent (although not always statistically significant) indication of negative employment effects of minimum wages” [7]. The review was also slightly updated in 2008, with the same results. The study found that about two thirds of the published research supported the neoclassical model of the minimum wage, and supported the ‘consensus view’ created in 1981. When the research was limited to studies with strong methodology, 80% point to negative employment effects [8].

Most of these studies are known as difference-in-differences studies. The methodology, in the simplest terms I can think of, are comparing rates of unemployment before and after the minimum wage laws were changed. In many cases, this can be seen to underestimate the result. Research published last year noted that studies claiming ‘no effect’ rely upon this methodology. Although the vast amount of research still finds a negative effect when using this methodology, difference-in-differences often produces a misleading ‘no effect’ conclusion. In many cases, changes in the minimum wage should not be expected to change unemployment levels immediately. In fact, there is often a ‘lag’ after the law before minimum wages take effect [9]. There is also research indicating many firms refuse to lay off employees due to moral considerations. But they are not opposed to not hiring people if the cost of hiring becomes too high (as new workers would give the costs of a higher wages to the firm). Therefore, research looking into employment dynamics—that is, the rate of new hiring—shows that employers are less likely to hire workers after new minimum wage laws are passed [10].

Other studies claiming ‘no effect’ fail to recognize that the effect of transitioning to a new equilibrium are often slow or not smooth [11], meaning the noise in the data has to be accounted for before we can assume there is ‘no effect’. As noted, employment dynamics do a good job minimizing this problem, and the evidence there suggests decreased employment.

I caution everyone who looks into the effects of minimum wage on the economy to be wary of case-studies. Case studies are not representative of the entire US. However, they can give some basic information as to how minimum wages interact with the workforce—at least in the specific area of study. An increase of the local minimum wage in New York by only ~1 dollar led to a 20% reduction of youth employment. The evidence is robust when changing the control variable to different surrounding geographical areas. This gives some credence to the idea that minimum wages may have effects larger than the consensus view [12].

==Minimum wages may cause long-term harm==

This argument is one of the most compelling against increasing the minimum wage. Increased minimum wages are shown to increase the amount of children who drop out of school in order to get a job. They assume that the higher wages will give them a stable income, and they would not need to continue schooling. However, as noted, employment rates drop and most negatively affect low-skilled youths. Therefore, this increases the chances of them becoming idle. They neither get 1) skills from schooling, or 2) skills from work experience. Over the long-term, their future prospects for attaining a job significantly diminish and their future wages are lower than what they would have been had minimum wages not been increased [13].

Minimum wages are not only associated with decreased school enrolment, but also decreasing the amount of training people in low-paying jobs receive. Research published starting in the 1980s suggested that minimum wages would decrease the amount of training workers would receive. More modern evidence confirms these conclusions and attempts to correct many of the shortcomings of the previous papers. Both formal, informal, and total training decreased significantly and had large negative elasticities. Although evidence for training to obtain a job was more ambiguous, there was overall a statistically insignificant decrease for that specific portion of training [14].

Evidence suggests decreased school enrolment and on the job training as a result from minimum wage laws. This indicates that, over the long term, potential earnings may actually decrease due to increases in the minimum wage, meaning the minimum wage has a long-term negative impact on lesser-skilled workers.


The evidence as to the negative employment effects due to increased minimum wages is significant and vast. Minimum wages will harm educational attainment and reduce on the job training, leading to a long-term adverse effects from minimum wage laws.


1. Neumark, David and William L. Wascher, Minimum Wages (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2008), 39-52.

2. Ibid, 53 – 54.

3. Card, David and Alan B. Krueger, Myth and Measurement: The New Economics of the Minimum Wage (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995).





8. Neumark and Wascher op cit 39.

9. Ibid, 63.




13. Neumark and Wascher op cit 214.

14. Ibid, 201.



Sorry 16k.

I've been just selecting debates that would be challenging and I think I can win but it's not a good enough reason to accept them. I just can't focus enough to debate this topic, as it doesn't interest me. I apologize for accepting and wasting your time.

I'm going to try and just do debates my heart is into, even if it means I debate significantly less. Once again, sorry for wasting your time.
Debate Round No. 2


I thank Wylted for accepting this debate, and it is perfectly alright that he has conceded due to time issues. Vote CON. But I will still write a rebuttal to round 1 claims, simply because I want to. I will do it in a more… summarized version than I usually would.


R1) Welfare and minimum wages

This was an interesting argument which I was not expecting.

To argue that welfare pays more than minimum wages really is not an argument against the minimum wage. If anything, it is an argument in order to reduce welfare spending. Both welfare and minimum wages have been shown to be ineffective ways to reduce poverty.

Further, the CATO report on the issue is flawed. The CATO report tends to exaggerate the amount of money those in poverty were receiving from the government. The report assumes that many of these families receive TANF, SNAP, LIHEAP, WIC, and TEFAP. However, there is convincing evidence that generally most people do not receive more than one form of assistance very often. Therefore, it is misleading to claim welfare pays more than minimum wage jobs, as the assumptions they plug into their results are flawed in and of themselves. Government transfers are actually much lower than the CATO report claims, and labor income for the lowest quintile far exceeds that of those who only receive government benefits [1].

R2) Minimum wages and poverty

Wylted draws his evidence from a few sources: First, a Dube study, and the next from the Washington Post. And the post summarizes multiple studies.

First, the Dube study. The Dube study reaches its conclusions by assuming no-impact on employment. And how does he reach the no-impact conclusion? He uses the same methodology from his previous study, Allgretto, Dube, Reich in 2008. They claim that when they control for spatial heterogeneity, there is no adverse effect from increased minimum wage laws. Using those results, he claims to find a slight increase in poverty due to minimum wage increases. These methods have been criticized by other scholars, as it often prevents the researchers from looking into potentially valuable data which is thrown out with the type of controls used in that method. Controlling for polynomials I state trends rather than controlling for linear time trends leads to the opposite conclusion. Therefore, the method which Dube uses (which finds no effect on employment) is not valid [2]. Therefore, as the entire assumption which Dube uses to prove a positive effect on poverty is flawed, his conclusion cannot be trusted.

The Washington post article argues that economists agree that minimum wages lead to a decrease in poverty. This could not be further from the truth. They cite a paper by Neumark and Wascher and claim they conclude minimum wages will reduce poverty. Well, this tells me that the reporter must have not read the paper. Neumark and Wascher claim to find that minimum wages enhance the effects of the EITC for single mothers, meaning they will be helped. However, they also find that EITC has no effect on low skilled workers and minority men, and that minimum wages adversely affect both groups. Therefore, minimum wages would harm low skilled workers, teenagers, and minorities, while helping single mothers. The study does NOT say that minimum wages reduce poverty. They find it decreases poverty in one group, and increases it in another, and then argue whether or not minimum wages help the poor depends on who you are trying to help.

And the study ignores the vast majority of research which claims minimum wages have no effect on poverty, and may increase it.

Sabia and Burkhauser 2007: using census data from 1979 to 2003, they estimate the effect of minimum wage increases on poverty rates. They found no evidence that minimum wages reduce either overall poverty rates or poverty rates amongst workers [3].

Sabia and Burkhauser 2010: Using same methodology and using more recent census data, they continued to find no evidence that minimum wages reduce poverty [4].

Sabia 2008: looking at groups targeted by policy makers, single mothers, he finds no evidence that minimum wages reduce poverty for those groups [5].

Neumark and Wascher 2002: looking as to how people entered and exited poverty using CPS data, they found that workers who kept their jobs were often lifted out of poverty. However, many workers who lost their jobs were barred from income and their hardships increased. Only for Junior High school drop outs are there poverty-alleviating affects. Overall, there was a slight increase in poverty [6].

Neumark, Wascher, and Schweitzer 1999: Minimum wage increases have no poverty alleviating effects [7].

Neumark and Adams 2000: Living wages do not reduce poverty [8].

Neumark and Wascher 2008: Meta-analysis. No evidence that minimum wages decrease poverty. Evidence minimum wage increases may increase poverty. Evidence shows that wages, on balance, decline as minimum wages are increased [9].

Neumark and Wascher 1997: Minimum wages lead to statistically insignificant increases in poverty [10].

Sabia and Nielson 2013: Higher minimum wages do not help people make ends meet, pay rent, pay utility bills, or avoid financial insecurity [11].

Addison and Blackburn 1999: Only junior high drop outs have poverty alleviating effects. Overall, no effect on poverty from minimum wage increases [12].

So the Washington Post was half right. Economists have reached a consensus! Except… It is that minimum wages do not decrease poverty, and that minimum wages harm society.

Vote CON :D



  3. Burkhauser, Richard V and Joseph J. Sabia. “The effectiveness of Minimum Wage increases in reducing poverty: Past, Present, and Future,” Contemporary Economic Policy 25 (2007): 262 – 281.

  4. Sabia, Joseph and Richard V Burkhauser. “Minimum Wages and Poverty: Will a $9.50 Federal Minimum Wage Really Help the Working Poor?” Southern Economic Journal (2010): 592-623.

  5. Sabia Joseph J. “Minimum Wages and the Economic Well-Being of Single Mothers,” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (2008): 848-866.

  6. Neumark, David and William I. Wascher. “Do Minimum Wages Fight Poverty?” Economic Inquiry (2002): 315-333.

  7. Neumark, David, William I. Wascher, and Mark Schweitzer. “Will Increasing the Minimum Wage Help the Poor?” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Economic Commentary (1999).


  9. Neumark, David and William I. Wascher. Minimum Wages, 2008.


  11. Sabia, Joseph and Robert Nielson. “Minimum Wages, Poverty, and Material Hardship: New Evidence from the SIPP,” Review of Economics of the Household (2013).

12. Addison, John T. and MicKinley L. Blackburn. “Minimum Wages and Poverty,” Industrial Labor Relations Review 52 (1999): 393-409.


Extend all arguments.
Debate Round No. 3


haha XD

Vote CON
Debate Round No. 4
22 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Varrack 2 years ago
This is an interesting topic. I think I'll start a debate like this.
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
I changed the essay topic
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
A lot of universities still consider self plagiarism, plagiarism. I think you should take notes on all the information you need and start the essay from scratch.
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
I am using part of this for an application to Stanford University Macroeconomics AP class over the summer (they need an essay). I am putting this here just in case they think I am plagiarizing--I didn't steal it, it is mine, no plagarism :P
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
I know, it's okay. Maybe I am also
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
I'm so confused lol
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
I'm against a minimum wage at all but in this form of government I think it's neccesary
Posted by 9spaceking 2 years ago
whatever. I guess there weren't that much arguments against the increased min. wage.
Posted by 9spaceking 2 years ago
Then I could see what was ahead, and research BEFOREHAND
Posted by 9spaceking 2 years ago
dang, I wish I had 16k's arguments available during MY min. wage debate.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by gordonjames 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: CON had good evidence that legislating a raise in the minimum wage leads to a reduction in jobs. PRO showed that welfare may pay better than full time work at a minimum wage job. I would love to see a debate on the topic that welfare is damaging to the workforce.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: pro gave up on the debate.
Vote Placed by jackh4mm3r 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: On sources, Con correctly refuted Pro's and offered some of his own. On arguments, Pro conceded with grace and Con gave excellent arguments refuting Pro's argument and offering a case by itself. Spelling and grammar kind. If only every forfeiture was as graceful and funny as Wylted's...
Vote Placed by Mikal 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: concession
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct - Tie. Both had proper conduct throughout the debate. S&G - Tie. Both had adequate spelling and grammar throughout. Arguments - Con. Pro gracefully conceded the debate in Round 2, thus Con wins. Sources - Con. While both utilized sources, I found Con's to be far greater in quantity which ultimately led to a majority of his claims being properly validated. For this, Con wins sources. I'd definitely like to see a rematch of this at some point. It was an enjoyable debate to read and vote on :)