Thursday, 9 February 2012

Yahoo Poll on the Minimum Wage

Every fibre of rationalism in my body tells me that I shouldn't ever look at the results of on-line polls on popular media sites, but sometimes I can't help myself. So I checked out today's poll at Yahoo New Zealand, concerning yesterday's announced increase in the minimum wage.

Of course, the results of these polls tell us nothing at all about either appropriate policy or public opinion. But in this case, the way the question is phrased tells is revealing. The question is
What do you think of the minimum wage raise?
And the possible answers that one can choose are
  • It's a good move forward
  • It's not enough for the people who depend on it
  • Baby steps...
  • I don't know.
What! No opportunity to express the view that the social costs of youth unemployment outweigh any redistributive benefits? No opportunity to state that the burden for helping the poor should be on all of society, not just employers? What hope is there for a sane debate about costs and benefits of policies if one prominent viewpoint amongst policy wonks is not even considered to be a possible answer?  I guess the good folks at the Yahoo news site don't read Offsetting, which makes me sad.


  1. If its any consolation, hardly anyone uses Yahoo anymore!?

  2. Hm. Nothing at all to indicate a belief that a raise is a bad idea at this time. Bizarre.

  3. The Treasury reports on the subject don't support the view that many jobs would be lost. Maybe the poll just reflected likely outcomes instead of firmly held beliefs not supported by the facts.

    1. Which Treasury reports are you thinking of, Steve? The last one I saw was the 2010 review, which recommended strongly against increasing the minimum wage from 12.75 to 13.00