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Economist’s Research Highlighted in President’s Economic Report

CONWAY, Ark. (March 13, 2013) - Hendrix economics professor Dr. Tom Stanley's meta-analysis of minimum wage research is featured in The Economic Report of the President, 2013.

Meta-analysis is the statistical analysis of previously reported statistical research.

Dr. Stanley and his colleague Dr. Chris Doucouliagos of Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, found 1,474 estimates of the effect of U.S. minimum wage raises on employment reported in 64 research papers.

Minimum-wage research contains clear evidence of publication selection bias in support of conventional economic theory's prediction of an adverse employment effect.  Stanley and Doucouliagos find no evidence of a meaningful employment effect, positive or negative, if allowance is made for the possibility of selection or other biases. No matter which statistical methods are used or how the research literature is defined, the employment effects from modest increases in the minimum wage are practically zero. 

Their research was published by the British Journal of Industrial Relations in 2009.  

Stanley joined the Hendrix faculty in 1986. His meta-analysis research was singled out in the Journal of Economic Surveys, a leading international journal, as part of the journal's Silver Jubilee celebration. A paper he co-authored is hailed as the first-ever paper on the use of meta-analysis in economics.

Stanley was appointed Senior Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics. In 2010, he received a grant from the United Kingdom's Department of International Development's Foreign Aid Department (DFID) to present a meta-analysis workshop at the DFID's London offices and to host the 2011 Meta-Analysis of Economics Research Network (MAER-Net) Colloquim at Wolfson College, University of Cambridge.

According to The Economic Report of the President, 2013:

"Doucouliagos and Stanley's (2009) careful meta-analysis of the literature concludes, 'with 64 studies containing approximately 1,500 estimates, we have reason to believe that if there is some adverse employment effect from minimum-wage raises, it must be of a small and policy irrelevant magnitude.'" (p. 36)

"A meta-analysis by Doucouliagos and Stanley (2009) of 64 studies on the minimum wage published between 1972 and 2007, encompassing over 1,000 estimates, finds that most estimates are concentrated around zero, indicating no detectable effect. The authors conclude that the available research finds 'no evidence of a meaningful adverse employment effect' of the minimum wage." (p. 121)

The full report can be downloaded here.

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