September 15, 2017

WORK YOU DON'T WANT WHITE PEOPLE DOING:

How The Minimum Wage Affects Restaurant Hygiene : An analysis of Seattle restaurants shows that as the city dramatically raised the minimum wage for restaurant employees and other workers, restaurants responded by lowering hygiene standards. (Shankar VedantamSeptember 13, 2017, Morning Edition)

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Here's a trend. Cities around the country have moved to increase the minimum wage for workers at restaurants. Now, in turn, those restaurants have responded by trying to find ways to cut costs or pass the bill on to customers. But there is another unexpected effect of raising the minimum wage. To explain, we are joined by NPR's social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam. Good morning.

SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Good morning, Mary Louise.

KELLY: All right, the suspense is killing me. What is the unexpected side effect?

VEDANTAM: Well, the new research explores hygiene violations in the restaurant industry, specifically looking at Seattle, which has been in the vanguard of raising the minimum wage. So the minimum wage in Seattle went from about $8 an hour in 2010 to about 13 to $15 an hour this year.

I was speaking to Srikant Devaraj at Ball State University in Indiana. Along with his co-author Subir Chakrabarti and Pankaj Patel, Devaraj analyzed the effects of the minimum wage increase on restaurant health and hygiene. Seattle's King County keeps detailed inspection records based on surprise visits from inspectors. Since different parts of King County raise the minimum wage at different times, the economists were able to track the trajectory of violations in Seattle as the minimum wage changed.

SRIKANT DEVARAJ: We find that a dollar increase in minimum wage resulted in a 6.4 percent increase in overall health violations and 15.3 percent increase in less severe violations as a result of the increases.

Posted by at September 15, 2017 7:10 PM

  

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