More Money, More Turnout? Minimum Wage Increases and Voting

  • 28 Jan 2020

    12:30-14:00, Clay Room, Nuffield College

  • Political Science Seminars   Add to Calendar
Speaker: Ariel White

Assistant Professor of Political Science, MIT

(with Zachary Markovich)

Do minimum wage increases mobilize low-income people? We measure the effect of minimum wage increases on voting behavior in two ways. First, we merge public records of New York City municipal employee wages to voting records to observe voting by people affected and unaffected by the minimum wage across multiple elections. Difference-in-differences estimates indicate that recent increases in New York's minimum wage increased voter turnout among low-income workers by several percentage points. Second, we incorporate county-level panel data from 1980-2016 and find that an eight percent increase in the minimum wage (the median increase in our dataset) is associated with a one-third of one percentage point increase in aggregate voter turnout. These results imply that economic policy can have democratic implications, with minimum wage increases also serving to increase turnout among low-wage workers and make the electorate more representative.

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