Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

AP

Last week, Berkeley economists published research showing that Seattle's aggressive minimum wage increases in recent years didn't lead to job losses. On Monday, the anti-minimum wage movement has a study of its own showing the opposite: new research from University of Washington saying that the 2016 minimum-wage hike from $11 to $13 caused employers to shed jobs and cut back on hours, the cumulative effect of which reduced the income of poor workers by $125 per month.

Why such different results? The two studies relied on different methodologies.

  • The Berkeley study focused on Seattle's restaurant industry, because a high proportion of low-wage earners work in food services. It then compared that to employment in a computer-generated "synthetic Seattle," composed of counties across the country. These counties, however, didn't experience minimum wage increases.
  • The University of Washington study looked at all low-wage workers in Seattle, using data from Washington State's unemployment insurance program. This, the study's authors said, enabled them to study the wages and hours worked for a much larger and more targeted share of low-income workers, though it excluded low-income contract workers and those who work for multi-site businesses. It also constrained the synthetic control group from using counties in Washington State itself.

Which study should be believed? Folks who argue for higher minimum wages say that the Washington State study is misleading because its control group cannot mimic Seattle's booming economy, in which high-wage jobs are replacing low-wage ones regardless of minimum wage policy.

Critics of the Berkeley study say that its focus on the restaurant industry leads to missed job and hour losses in other sectors of the low-wage economy.

We'll have a better understanding of which study accurately reflects Seattle's high-minimum wage economy after these studies go through peer review. But economists on both sides of the issue have been publishing competing studies for more than a generation without reaching a consensus — so don't expect them to any time soon.

Go deeper

39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's latest executive order: Buy American

President Joe R. Biden speaks about the economy before signing executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Friday, Jan 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden will continue his flurry of executive orders on Monday, signing a new directive to require the federal government to “buy American” for products and services.

Why it matters: The executive action is yet another attempt by Biden to accomplish goals administratively without waiting for the backing of Congress. The new order echoes Biden's $400 billion campaign pledge to increase government purchases of American goods.

Tech digs in for long domestic terror fight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With domestic extremist networks scrambling to regroup online, experts fear the next attack could come from a radicalized individual — much harder than coordinated mass events for law enforcement and platforms to detect or deter.

The big picture: Companies like Facebook and Twitter stepped up enforcement and their conversations with law enforcement ahead of Inauguration Day. But they'll be tested as the threat rises that impatient lone-wolf attackers will lash out.

The pandemic could be worsening childhood obesity

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The 10-month long school closures and the coronavirus pandemic are expected to have a big impact on childhood obesity rates.

Why it matters: About one in five children are obese in the U.S. — an all-time high — with worsening obesity rates across income and racial and ethnic groups, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show.