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Do European Labor Laws Lead to Terrorism? by Alex Tabarrok

Why are there poor Muslim ghettos in Europe but not in the United States?

In Belgium, high unemployment and crime-ridden Muslim ghettos have fomented radicalism, but as Jeff Jacoby writes:

Muslims in the United States … have had no problem acclimating to mainstream norms. In a detailed 2011 survey, the Pew Research Center found that Muslim Americans are “highly assimilated into American society and … largely content with their lives.”

More than 80 percent of US Muslims expressed satisfaction with life in America, and 63 percent said they felt no conflict “between being a devout Muslim and living in a modern society.”

The rates at which they participate in various everyday American activities — from following local sports teams to watching entertainment TV — are similar to those of the American public generally. Half of all Muslim immigrants display the US flag at home, in the office, or on their car.

Jacoby, however, doesn’t explain why these differences exist. One reason is the greater flexibility of American labor markets compared to those in Europe.

Institutions that make it more difficult to hire and fire workers or adjust wages can increase unemployment and reduce employment, especially among immigrant youth. Firms will be less willing to hire if it is very costly to fire. As Tyler and I put it in Modern Principles, how many people will want to go on a date if every date requires a marriage?

The hiring hurdle is especially burdensome for immigrants given the additional real or perceived uncertainty from hiring immigrants. One of the few ways that immigrants can compete in these situations is by offering to work for lower wages. But if that route is blocked by minimum wages, or requirements that every worker receive significant non-wage benefits, unemployment and non-employment among immigrants will be high — generating disaffection, especially among the young.

Huber, for example, (see also Angrist and Kuglerfinds:

Countries with more centralized wage bargaining, stricter product market regulation and countries with a higher union density, have worse labour market outcomes for their immigrants relative to natives even after controlling for compositional effects.

The problem of labor market rigidity is especially acute in Belgium, where the differences between native and immigrant unemployment, employment and wages are among the highest in the OECD. Language difficulties and skills are one reason, but labor market rigidity is another, as this OECD report makes clear:

Belgian labour market settings are generally unfavourable to the employment outcomes of low-skilled workers. Reduced employment rates stem from high labour costs, which deter demand for low-productivity workers…

Furthermore, labour market segmentation and rigidity weigh on the wages and progression prospects of outsiders. With immigrants over-represented among low-wage, vulnerable workers, labour market settings likely hurt the foreign-born disproportionately. …

Minimum wages can create a barrier to employment of low-skilled immigrants, especially for youth. As a proportion of the median wage, the Belgian statutory minimum wage is on the high side in international comparison and sectoral agreements generally provide for even higher minima. This helps to prevent in-work poverty … but risks pricing low-skilled workers out of the labour market (Neumark and Wascher, 2006).

Groups with further real or perceived productivity handicaps, such as youth or immigrants, will be among the most affected.

In 2012, the overall unemployment rate in Belgium was 7.6% (15-64 age group), rising to 19.8% for those in the labour force aged under 25, and, among these, reaching 29.3% and 27.9% for immigrants and their native-born offspring, respectively.

Immigration can benefit both immigrants and natives but achieving those benefits requires the appropriate institutions especially open and flexible labor markets.

This post first appeared at Marginal Revolution.

Alex TabarrokAlex Tabarrok

Alex Tabarrok is a professor of economics at George Mason University. He blogs at Marginal Revolution with Tyler Cowen.

The $15 Minimum Wage and the End of Teen Work by Jack Salmon

A new report from JP Morgan Chase & Co. finds that the summer employment rate for teenagers is nearing a record low at 34 percent. The report surveyed 15 US cities and found that despite an increase in summer positions available over a two year period, only 38 percent of teens and young adults found summer jobs.

This would be worrying by itself given the importance of work experience in entry-level career development, but it is also part of a long-term trend. Since 1995 the rate of seasonal teenage employment has declined by over a third from around 55 percent to 34 percent in 2015. The report does not attempt to examine why summer youth employment has fallen over the past two decades. If it had, it would probably find one answer in the minimum wage.

Most of the 15 cities studied in this report have minimum wage rates above the federal level, with cities such as Seattle having a rate more than double that. Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics seen in the chart show exactly how a drastic rise in the minimum wage rate affects the rate of employment.

Seattle has experienced the largest 3 month job loss in its history last year, following the introduction of a $15 minimum wage. We can only imagine the impact such a change has had on the prospects of employment for the young and unskilled.

Raising the minimum wage reduces the number of jobs in the long-run. It is difficult to measure this long-run effect in terms of the numbers of never materializing jobs. However, the key mechanism behind the model—that more labor-intensive establishments are replaced by more capital-intensive ones—is supported by evidence. That is why recent research suggesting that minimum wages barely reduce the number of jobs in the short-run, should be taken with caution. Several years down the line, a higher real minimum wage can lead to much larger employment losses.

Nevertheless, politicians continue to push the idea that minimum wage laws are somehow helping the young “earn a decent wage.” It is important to remember the underlying motives behind pushes for higher minimum wage rates. Milton Friedman characterized it as an “unholy coalition of do-gooders on the one hand and special interests on the other; special interests being the trade unions.”

Several empirical studies have been conducted over the course of more than two decades, with all evidence pointing toward negative effects of minimum wage rises on employment levels among the young and unskilled. A study conducted by David Neumark and William Wascher in 1995 noted that “such increases raise the probability that more-skilled teenagers leave school and displace lower-skilled workers from their jobs. These findings are consistent with the predictions of a competitive labor market model that recognizes skill differences among workers. In addition, we find that the displaced lower-skilled workers are more likely to end up non-enrolled and non-employed.”

Policy makers who continuously raise the minimum wage simply assure that those young people, whose skills are not sufficient to justify that kind of wage, will instead remain unemployed. In an interview, Friedman famously asked “What do you call a person whose labor is worth less than the minimum wage? Permanently unemployed.”

The upshot: Raising the minimum wage at both federal and local levels denies youth the skills and experience they need to get their career going.

This post first appeared at CEI.org.

Jack SalmonJack Salmon

Jack Salmon is a research associate at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Low-Skilled Workers Flee the Minimum Wage: How State Lawmakers Exile the Needy by Corey Iacono

What happens when, in a country where workers are free to move, a region raises its minimum wage? Do those with the fewest skills seek out the regions with the highest wage floors?

New minimum wage research by economist Joan Monras of the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) attempts to answer that question. Monras theoretically shows that there should be a close relationship between the employment effects of raising the minimum wage and the migration of low-skilled workers.

When the demand for local low-skilled labor is relatively unresponsive (or inelastic) to wage changes, raising the minimum wage should lead to an influx of low-skilled workers from other states in search of better-paying jobs. On the other hand, if the demand for low-skilled labor is relatively responsive (or elastic), raising the minimum wage will lead low-skilled workers to flee to states where they will more easily find employment.

To test the model empirically, Monras examined data from all the changes in effective state minimum wages over the period 1985 to 2012. Looking at time frames of three years before and after each minimum wage increase, Monras found that

  1. As depicted in the graph below on the left, those who kept their jobs earned more under the minimum wage. No surprise there.
  2. As depicted in the graph below on the right, workers with the fewest skills were having an easier time finding full-time employment prior to the minimum wage increase. But this trend completely reversed as soon as the minimum wage was increased.
  3. A control group of high-skilled workers didn’t experience either of these effects. Those affected by the changing laws were the least skilled and the most vulnerable.

These results show that the timing of minimum wage increases is not random.

Instead, policy makers tend to raise minimum wages when low-skilled workers’ real wages are declining and employment is rising. Many studies, misled by the assumption that the timing of minimum wage increases is not influenced by local labor demand, have interpreted the lack of falling low-skilled employment following a minimum wage increase as evidence that minimum wage increases have no effect on employment.

When Monras applied this same false assumption to his model, he got the same result. However, to observe the true effect of minimum wage increases on employment, he assumed a counterfactual scenario where, had the minimum wages not been raised, the trend in low-skilled employment growth would have continued as it was.

By making this comparison, Monras was able to estimate that wages increased considerably following a minimum wage hike, but employment also fell considerably. In fact, employment fell more than wages rose. For every 1 percent increase in wages, the share of a state’s population of low-skilled workers in full-time employment fell by 1.2 percent. (The same empirical approach showed that minimum wage increases had no effect on the wages or employment of a control group of high-skilled workers.)

Monras’s model predicts that if labor demand is sensitive to wage changes, low-skilled workers should leave states that increase their minimum wages — and that’s exactly what his empirical evidence shows.

According to Monras,

A 1 percent reduction in the share of employed low-skilled workers [following a minimum wage increase] reduces the share of low-skilled population by between .5 and .8 percent. It is worth emphasizing that this is a surprising and remarkable result: workers for whom the [minimum wage] policy was designed leave the states where the policy is implemented.

These new and important findings reinforce the view that minimum wage increases come at a cost to the employment rates of low-skilled workers.

They also pose a difficult question for minimum wage proponents: If minimum wage increases benefit low-skilled workers, why do these workers leave the states that raise their minimum wage?

Corey IaconoCorey Iacono

Corey Iacono is a student at the University of Rhode Island majoring in pharmaceutical science and minoring in economics.

EXPOSED: Big Business is Driving Muslim Refugee Resettlement in America

Update:  Be sure to learn more about what you should do about this during Election 2016 at American Resistance 2016!

The so-called ‘religious’ charities that resettle refugees in America and those in the UN/US State Department administering the refugee admissions program that is bringing tens of thousands of Muslim (and other) refugees to your towns want you to think this is all about ‘humanitarianism.’  It is not!

The do-gooders bringing refugees to America are shills for big business whether they know it or not!

It is about globalization and multi-national corporations’ need for cheap migrant laborers!

Did you read our post about BIG MEAT and Amarillo, TX just this week? It went viral and has brought thousands upon thousands of readers to RRW!  The business model is that companies, often times companies in the food industry, encourage (lobby for!) more refugees to be admitted to the US (or for amnesty for illegal aliens).

They get the slave laborers, your town gets the social/cultural tension, and taxpayers at all levels of government supplement the meager wages with WELFARE!  

Chobani Twin Falls Idaho

Cobani Twin Falls plant. As a driver of refugee resettlement, Chobani Yogurt is changing Idaho by changing the people.

Dems get reliable Leftwing voters!

(See also our post on foreign operatives changing America with refugee labor, here.)

Rich people going to Davos to make plans for your town!

This is what got me started this morning.  The Financial Times tells us that the founder of Chobani Yogurt will be making a pitch at Davos this week at the World Economic Forum for more companies to adopt that ‘business model’ and hire (read IMPORT) more refugees to small and medium-sized American cities!

Financial Times:

Last year Hamdi Ulukaya, a Kurdish entrepreneur who created the billion-dollar US-based Chobani yoghurt empire, travelled to Greece to see the swelling refugee crisis with his own eyes. Unsurprisingly, he was horrified by the human suffering that he witnessed, particularly as he shares a cultural affinity with many of the refugees — he grew up near the Syrian border in Turkey, before moving to the US as a student.

But Ulukaya was also appalled by something else: the hopelessly bureaucratic and old-fashioned nature of the organisations running the aid efforts. “The refugee issue is being dealt with using [methods from] the 1940s and it’s in the hands of the UN and mostly government and you don’t see a lot of private sector and entrepreneurs involved,” he told me last week. “I decided we have got to hack this — we have got to bring another perspective into this issue, there are technologies that can be used.”

So Ulukaya decided to act. Last year he established a foundation, Tent, to channel financial aid and innovation efforts into refugee work.

[….]

And he has stepped up efforts to hire as many refugees as he can at his yoghurt plants, where they currently account for 30 per cent of the total workforce, or 600 people. “There are 11 or 12 languages spoken in our factories,” says Ulukaya. “We have translators 24 hours a day.”

[….]

At next week’s World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, he will call on other CEOs to join a campaign to channel corporate money, lobbying initiatives, services and jobs to refugees. Five companies have already signed up: Ikea, MasterCard, Airbnb, LinkedIn and UPS — and Ulukaya says more are poised to join.

Continue reading!  Reporter Gillian Tett quotes me, and mentions protests in Idaho and New York where Chobani is bringing in the refugee laborers.

See our complete archive on Twin Falls, Idaho and the ‘pocket of resistance’ that has formed there.

P.S. When I first learned about what Chobani Yogurt was doing to rural America (here), I never again bought any Chobani Yogurt!  I go down that dairy aisle and give them a mental finger (sorry to our more proper and polite readers).

Nine major federal contractors which like to call themselves VOLAGs (Voluntary agencies) which is such a joke considering how much federal money they receive:

RELATED ARTICLE: Muslim Immigration is What ISIS Wants

EDITORS NOTE: Chobani Yogurt CEO pursuing Syrian immigrants for employment in the United States. If you disagree readers may click here to send an email urging Chobani, Inc. officials to make national security, public safety and jobs for Americans the priority in Chobani hiring practices.

The Minimum Wage Hurt the Young and Low-Skilled almost as Much as the Recession by Preston Cooper

Hiking the minimum wage killed almost as many low-end jobs as did the economic collapse.

This is University of California-San Diego Professor Jeffrey Clemens’ conclusion from his just published supplement to his landmark 2014 study. He says that federal minimum wage hikes from 2006 to 2009 accounted for 43 percent of the decline in employment among young, low-skilled workers during the Great Recession.

Young, low-skilled workers — defined as individuals between 16 and 30 without a high school degree — are the most likely to be hurt by minimum wage hikes because they are the least likely to have skills that employers consider valuable. Businesses might be willing to take on these individuals at low wages in order to train them before moving them up to higher-paying work. But when the government sets a high minimum wage, that first step on the career path might disappear.

Clemens’ new study confirms this longstanding theory. Young, low-skilled workers were hit hard by the minimum wage, while most other groups were relatively unaffected.

Several strengths set the Clemens study and its predecessor (coauthored by Michael Wither) apart from a large body of research on the minimum wage. Not least among them is its time frame. The paper covers a seven-year period from 2006 to 2012, unlike other studies such as the oft-cited 1994 paper by David Card and Alan Krueger. That paper, which found no negative effect of the minimum wage, only looked at a period of eleven months.

The time frame is critical because the damaging effects of minimum wage increases are often delayed. Immediately after a wage hike, businesses usually do not wish to significantly alter their business plans. Instead of laying off workers, they might raise prices or cut back on fringe benefits. But after one or two years, fewer businesses will open, existing businesses will close faster, and fewer jobs will be available.

Clemens’ study is unique in that it separates out workers by both age and skill level, to isolate where the worst effects of the minimum wage occur. The finding that young people without a high school degree are hurt the most does not bode well for minority communities: high school graduation rates are lower for black (68 percent) and Hispanic (76 percent) students than for white (85 percent) and Asian (93 percent) students. This may be one of the reasons that the white teen unemployment rate, at 14 percent, is so much lower than the black teen unemployment rate of 24 percent.

Rather than proposing blanket increases in the minimum wage to $10 or even $15 per hour, policymakers should look for ways to ensure that vulnerable individuals are spared. One solution is to allow anyone under 25 to work for a special sub-minimum wage, thus increasing their employment opportunities while still satisfying the political need to maintain higher standard minimum wages.

The new evidence presented in Clemens’ paper is an important reminder that well-intentioned policies such as the minimum wage have costs. The minimum wage tends to benefit older, established workers at the expense of the young and the unskilled. As we move into 2016, policymakers should resolve to find more innovative solutions to poverty than the minimum wage.

This post originally appeared at CapX.

Preston CooperPreston Cooper

Preston Cooper is a Policy Analyst at Economics21.

CLICHÉS OF PROGRESSIVISM #21 – “Capitalism’s Sweatshops and Child Labor Cry Out for Government Intervention” by Paul L. Poirot

Prevalent in the United States and other industrialized countries is the belief that without govern­mental intervention, such as wage and hour legislation, child labor laws, and rules concerning work­ing conditions for women, the long hours and grueling conditions of the “sweatshop” would run rampant.

The implication is that legislators, in the days of Abraham Lin­coln, for instance, were cruel and inconsiderate of the poor—no better than the caricatured fac­tory owners of the times who would employ men and women and children at low wages, long hours, and poor working conditions. Otherwise, had they been humani­tarians, legislators of a century ago and earlier would have prohibited child labor, legislated a 40-hour work week, and passed other laws to improve working condi­tions.

But the simple truth is that legislators of a few generations ago in the United States were powerless, as Mao or Nehru or Chavez or Castro has been powerless in more recent times, to wave a wand of restrictionist legislation and thereby raise the level of living and abolish poverty among the people. If such a miracle were pos­sible, every dictator and every democratically chosen legislator would “push the button” without hesitation. (Editor’s note: See the recommended readings below for abundant historical evidence of this point).

The reason why women and children no longer find it neces­sary to work for low wages under poor conditions from dawn to dusk six days or more a week is the same reason why strong healthy men can avoid such onerous labor in a comparatively free industrialized society: surviving and earning a living are made easier through the use of tools and capital accumu­lated by personal saving and in­vestment.

In fiction, the children of na­ture may dwell in an earthly para­dise; but in the real life of all primitive societies, the men and women and all the children strug­gle constantly against the threat of starvation. Such agrarian econ­omies support all the people they can, but with high infant mortal­ity and short life spans for all survivors.

When savings can be accumu­lated, then tools can be made and life’s struggle somewhat eased—industrialization begins. And with the growth of savings and tools and production and trade, the pop­ulation may increase. As incomes rise and medical practices im­prove, children stand a better chance of survival, and men and women may live longer with less effort. Not that savings are ac­cumulated rapidly or that indus­trialization occurs overnight; it is a long, slow process. And in its early stages, the surviving women and children are likely to be found improving their chances as best they can by working in factories and so-called sweatshops. To pass a law prohibiting such effort at that stage of development of the so­ciety would simply be to condemn to death a portion of the expand­ing population. To prohibit child labor in developing countries today would be to condemn millions to starvation.

Once a people have developed habits of industry and thrift, learned to respect life and prop­erty, discovered how to invest their savings in creative and pro­ductive and profitable enterprise, found the mainspring of human progress—then, and only then, after the fact of industrialization and a prosperous expanding econ­omy, is it possible to enact child labor laws without thereby pass­ing a death sentence.

A wise and honest humanitarian will know that poverty (and worse) lurks behind every minimum wage law that sets a wage higher than some individual is capable of earn­ing; behind every compulsory 40-hour week rule that catches a man with a family he can’t support ex­cept through more than 40 hours of effort; behind every legislated condition of employment that forces some marginal employer into bankruptcy, thus destroying the job opportunities he otherwise afforded; behind every legal ac­tion that virtually compels retire­ment at age 65.

Men will take their children and women out of sweatshops as fast as they can afford it—as fast as better job opportunities develop—as fast as the supply of capital available per worker increases. The only laws necessary for that purpose are those that protect life and private property and thus encourage personal saving and in­vestment.

To believe that labor laws are the cause of improved living and working conditions, rather than an afterthought, leads to harmful laws that burden wealth creation, sap the incentive of the energetic, and close the doors of opportunity to those least able to afford it. And the ultimate effect is not a boon to mankind but a major push back toward barbarism.

Paul L. Poirot

Summary

  • Sweatshops and child labor were commonplace in preindustrial, precapitalist days because production and productivity were so low, not because people disliked their wives and children more than they do today.
  • Savings, investment, and economic growth improve working and economic conditions faster and more assuredly than well-intentioned but misguided laws that simply close doors of opportunity.

For further information, see:

“Child Labor and the British Industrial Revolution” by Lawrence W. Reed

“Sweatshop Blues: An Interview with Benjamin Powell”

“Book Review: Child Labor and the Industrial Revolution by Clark Nardinelli” as reviewed by David M. Brown

“Why Economies Grow” by Aaron Schavey

“The Man Behind the Hong Kong Miracle” by Lawrence W. Reed

ABOUT PAUL L. POIROT

Paul L. Poirot was a long-time member of the staff of the Foundation for Economic Education and editor of its journal, The Freeman, from 1956 to 1987.

EDITORS NOTE: Paul L. Poirot was a long-time editor of FEE’s journal, The Freeman. This essay is slightly edited from the original, published there in 1963 under the title “To Abolish Sweatshops.”) The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.