From the Fair Labor Standards Act to Individual State Minimum Wages: Measuring State Minimum Wages and Economic Performance

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Senior Projects Spring 2017

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Carafotes, Adam Charles
Bard Digital Commons
Minimum Wage; History; Employment; Economic History; Growth and Development; Labor Economics; Labor History; Macroeconomics; Political Economy; United States History
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This project will analyze the historical foundation of the minimum wage in the United States prior to the first federal wage enactment in 1938 to the current federal wage as well as individual state wages. This paper will offer a historical overview along with economic ideology in determining appropriate minimum wage floors on state and federal levels of the economy. The question of raising either state or federal minimum wages has drawn great importance in the eyes of our country and in the eyes of economic thinkers, policymakers, and individuals. The minimum wage has been the backbone for working individuals primarily seeking entry into the workforce in various industries. Recent debate has been on what economic factors will the economy incur if the overall level is raised. The goal of this project will be to observe and conclude if states with higher minimum wage levels experience overall higher economic performance.