“Friedman Friday” CLASSIC ARTICLE FROM DECADES AGO FROM MILTON FRIEDMAN “Minimum Wage vs. Supply and Demand” (Wall Street Journal, 24 April 1996)

“Minimum Wage vs. Supply and Demand”
by Milton Friedman


Wall Street Journal, 24 April 1996
Reprinted from The Wall Street Journal © 1996 Dow Jones & Company. All rights reserved.


Raising by law the price of any commodity or service will reduce the quantity that purchasers of that commodity or service wish to purchase, whether the item in question is gasoline or wheat or milk or labor. The only issue is by how much.
A higher minimum wage would therefore mean that fewer people would be employed. Fewer people would produce less than more people, so that the basic cost of a higher minimum wage would be smaller total output. Some people would benefit—those current minimum wage workers who are retained at the higher minimum wage. Some people would lose–those current minimum wage workers who become unemployed.


It is difficult for me to see how this kind of redistribution of income among low income workers compensates for the loss in total output.

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