UBC Professor says a $15 minimum wage would help families
Published Tuesday, April 14, 2015 5:18AM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 14, 2015 1:48PM PDT
A University of British Columbia professor says a much higher minimum wage in the province would help reduce poverty and income inequality, and that these benefits would outweigh any negative effects of the change.
In a report on the potential effects of a $15 per hour minimum wage released Tuesday, David Green -- a professor in UBC’s Vancouver School of Economics -- argues that such an increase would do much more for the province than the increase to $10.45 that will take place in September.
“The main point about the minimum wage is that we need to be thinking about how to use it to battle inequality and poverty,” Green told CTV News. “A lot of what I was trying to do in this report is take really a pretty big body of literature about what the minimum wage does to poverty, inequality, unemployment, and job turnover.”
He said that literature shows that predictions of job losses and economic harm from past minimum wage increases have never materialized.
The caveat to that finding is that the minimum wage has never been increased as dramatically as an increase to $15 per hour would be.
Green said such an increase would have to be phased in over time, and might still have minor adverse effects.
“My best guess from the numbers that we have is that there would be an employment effect, but that employment cost would be far outweighed by the benefits,” he said.
After the September increase, B.C.’s minimum wage will be pegged to the Consumer Price Index, meaning it will grow with the rate of inflation.
Green says this is a good thing, but that the current wage is not high enough to allow people to lift themselves out of poverty by working. A jump to $15, coupled with continued adjustments for inflation, would be more effective, he said.