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Economic Perspectives, 11, No. 2, March 1987
The minimum wage: No minor matter for teens

Whether teenagers should receive special treatment under the federal minimum wage law has been a matter of controversy for some years. Bills to introduce a special lower minimum wage for teenagers have been proposed in the last two sessions of Congress. Advocates contend that the minimum wage has a significant negative impact on job opportunities of low-skilled youth. But some research suggests that the employment gains from a differential minimum wage might be quite modest. The 1980 Congressional Minimum Wage Study Commission concluded that a differential of 25 percent less than the adult minimum wage would likely increase youth employment by at most 5 percent.



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