Giggle

The decision to increase the minimum wage in Seattle may be leading to less hygienic restaurants in the city, according to a working paper from a group of economists.

A trio of professors at Ball State, Villanova, and Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) tracked the change in health code violations reported in Washington state’s King County, where Seattle is located, since the city raised the minimum wage.

The researchers told NPR on Wednesday that because different parts of King County raised the minimum wage at different times, they were able to track the violations in Seattle as the minimum wage changed in each area. Seattle’s minimum went from about $8 an hour in 2010 to about $13-$15 an hour this year.

“We find an increase in real minimum wage by $0.10 increased total hygiene violation scores by 11.45 percent,” the professors wrote.

So people economise on the employment of more costly labour, do they?

Heavens To Betsy, who would have thought it?

16 thoughts on “Giggle”

  1. ‘“We find an increase in real minimum wage by $0.10 increased total hygiene violation scores by 11.45 percent,” the professors wrote.’

    “I believe that economists put decimal points in their forecasts to show they have a sense of humor.” – William Gilmore Simms

  2. Don’t the rainbows coming from Unicorn’s bums offset all the health problems caused by the hygiene violations in the minds of the dim left?

  3. Gamecock,

    It’s not a forecast – it’s a report. I can’t predict tomorrow’s temperature to more than two significant figures (probably 17°C), but I can tell you the exact temperature yesterday (16.43°C).

  4. “… but I can tell you the exact temperature yesterday (16.43°C).”

    As measured at a specific device at a certain instant. And what’s the margin of error on the reading?

  5. Bloke in North Dorset

    “Shit a brick!”

    Having had food poisoning a number of times I can assure you it won’t be that solid.

  6. What, they *doubled* the minimum wage in six years? Has average wages or consumer prices doubled in the same time? That’s 12% a year, a horrendous inflation rate for a modern country.

  7. Andrew M – thanks for your pendantry.

    “but I can tell you the exact temperature yesterday”

    The economists’ assertion of 11.45 percent is preposterous in its detail.

    “It’s not a forecast – it’s a report.”

    No, sir. It’s a joke.

  8. jgh,

    12% wouldn’t be the inflation rate, as whilst those people with the lowest-possible paid jobs would be 12% a year better off, the number of people with those jobs would be smaller (all else being equal) so the amount of money in the wage column of whatever ledger we are using would not increase by 12% annually – it may be that the resulant loss of jobs actually kept the amount of money in the wage column stable or even cut it.

    Although releasing people from low-paid jobs may increase entrepreneurship (they have to do something…) and have increased the amount of stuff there is to buy, without necessarily increasing the amount of money to buy it with, and therefore countering any inflationary tendency anyway…

    Bascially, the Seattle experiment (it is an experiment surely – they can’t seriously expect that sort of rise to have positive effects on the people they would be wanting to help) will give us a steer as to how this works, but I am confident it won’t be a particular increase in inflationary pressure.

  9. BWTM

    ‘Seattle’s minimum went from about $8 an hour in 2010 to about $13-$15 an hour this year.

    “We find an increase in real minimum wage by $0.10 increased total hygiene violation scores by 11.45 percent,” the professors wrote.’

    Think it’s a real number?

    $15 – $8 = $7

    $7 / $.10 = 70

    70 * 11.45 percent = 801.5% increase

  10. @ Gamecock
    If you are starting from quite a low number, say 1 violation per 100 restaurants, it’s quite feasible to get a 801.5% increase to 9.015 violations per 100 restaurants.
    [As a pendant I must point out that your sum is only a first approximation – the increase would be (1.1145^70-1) if each 10c increase raise the number of violations by 11.45% of the number immediately prior to the increase. However I strongly suspect that you have accurately interpreted what the professors *meant* as distinct from what they actually said.]

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