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Economists Urge Minimum Wage Boost

MONDAY, OCT. 2, 1995

More than 100 economists including three Nobel Prize winners are urging an increase in the minimum wage, saying the benefits would outweigh any negative effects.

“As economists who are concerned about the erosion in the living standards of households dependent on the earnings of low-wage workers, we believe that the federal minimum wage should be increased,” they said in a statement.

“Specifically, the proposed increase in the minimum wage of 90 cents over a two-year period falls within the range of alternatives where the overall effects on the labor market, affected workers and the economy would be positive.”

The statement was released today by the Economic Policy Institute and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, two liberal think tanks.

President Clinton has proposed raising the $4.25-an-hour minimum to $5.15 in two steps spread over two years. But the Republican-controlled Senate refused in July to bring the issue to a vote.

The minimum wage last was increased April 1, 1991 from $3.80 an hour.

Republicans and some economists contend that raising the minimum would price many lower-income workers out of jobs.

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