birth of the minimum wage

Last week, we are looking at government intervention in the free market (chapters 3/4 ). Governments may intervene for many different reasons, and in chapters 3/4 week we are mostly looking at price regulation. What should the government do if the price as determined by the free market for essentials like housing and food, if the free market price is too high for many people to afford? What if the wage as determined by the market is too low for people to get buy? These are the types of questions that we have been looking at this week.

One of the most common forms of price regulation by the government is in the low-skilled labor market, what we call the minimum wage. The city of Seatac voted to up the minimum wage for certain hospitality and airport employees to $15 an hour. Seattle latter voted to raise the minimum wage up to $15 per hour over the course of several years, and then in November, voters in Washington State approved a minimum wage of $13.50 (to be phased in over a period of years). But, where did the first minimum wage come from? The Planet Money team over at NPR decided to find out. Listen to the episode (18 minutes) and then comment on what surprised you, what you found interesting, what you think about the efforts locally to raise the minimum wage etc.

You can listen to the podcast, download the episode and get the transcript here:

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