The Impact of Minimum Wage Legislation in Minnesota vs. Wisconsin: Contra Williams

In a recent CROWE Policy Brief, Noah Williams (2018) argues that the recent increases in Minnesota’s minimum wage relative to Wisconsin’s is a central reason why Minnesota’s employment in limited service restaurants (aka fast food establishments) has declined.

In his analysis, Williams asserts that (1) the drastic increase in the Minnesota minimum wage relative to that in Wisconsin has (1) driven down Minnesota relative employment in “fast food restaurants”, (2) driven down Minnesota relative employment of 16‐24 year olds, and (3) driven up Minnesota fast food restaurants’ costs.

In the following sections, we evaluate these propositions. Specifically, we undertake a more systematic time series analysis. We realize the limitations of such a study – the impact of many confounding factors. A micro level study would be superior. But at a minimum we can investigate what the time series evidence can and cannot tell us.


  • Series: La Follette School Working Paper No. 2018-008
  • Authors: Menzie Chinn, Louis Johnston

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