While most of my adult life has been devoted to simply imparting basic Economics to policymakers, I have to admit to being a little skeptical as to if they are actually listening. I’ve seen too many times, especially during my service as staff in the Senate, politicians support policies they have to know are harmful. So it always encouraging to see some evidence of Congress taking basic Economics into account.
The evidence is presented in a recent paper in the academic journal Public Choice. The paper examines the 2007 vote to raise the minimum wage. After controlling for a variety of factors, the “study finds that members who majored in economics as undergraduates were less likely to vote for the minimum wage increase than their colleagues.” Again this controls for party and others factors that might also influence a Representative’s decision. As you probably recall, the vote in question did pass. So while I’m not suggesting that a few more economists in Congress would solve all our problems, it might actually help.