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A study suggests that higher minimum wages hit poorer bosses’ pockets

A MINIMUM WAGE is supposed to redistribute money from rich to poor. But economists disagree about whether it actually does so. Some researchers, for example, have found that, in America, Canada and Europe, raising the minimum wage tends to decrease employment among the least-skilled workers, as firms downsize to trim costs. Others have found no effect on employment. And although no one doubts that the policy raises wages for the workers who stay employed, still unsettled is the question of where that extra money comes from. A new paper by Lev Drucker and Katya Mazirov of Israel’s Ministry of Finance, and David Neumark of the University of California, Irvine, examines increases in Israel’s minimum wage in 2006-08 in search of an answer. The more low-wage workers a company employed, they found, the more its profits declined. Companies with 60-80% of staff earning the minimum wage saw their profits cut by almost half.
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