Price and Wage Controls in a Pandemic
Pandemics and Policy Series

Abolish Price and Wage Controls

The disruption that COVID-19 has wrought includes unusually pronounced changes to labor markets with huge, ongoing depressions of demand in some sectors. In this environment, elevated minimum wage rates risk creating yet more unemployment, both because the wage rates will be more damaging in sectors where market wages have fallen and because companies have fewer opportunities to adjust their cost base right now. As time moves on, we will need the large supply of currently unemployed workers to transition into new roles. High minimum wage rates at the state and local levels may act as a barrier to this.

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Ryan Bourne

R. Evan Scharf Chair for the Public Understanding of Economics

James A. Dorn

Vice President for Monetary Studies, Senior Fellow, and Editor of Cato Journal

Chris Edwards
Director of Tax Policy Studies and editor of
Thomas A. Firey

Senior Fellow and Managing Editor, Regulation

Steve H. Hanke

Senior Fellow and Director, Troubled Currencies Project

Jeffrey Miron

Director of Economic Studies

Walter Olson

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Randal O’Toole

Senior Fellow

Alan Reynolds

Senior Fellow

Julian Sanchez

Senior Fellow

Jennifer J. Schulp

Director of Financial Regulation Studies, Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives

George Selgin

Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Monetary and Financial Alternatives

Michael D. Tanner

Senior Fellow

Peter Van Doren

Senior Fellow and Editor, Regulation

Todd Zywicki

Senior Fellow