Welcome to the Anne Moss-Biggs Library's topic guide for the study of minimum wage increases from 1970s to the present. Intended for political science students, use this guide to find authoritative data sources, books, and scholarly journal articles for your research and assignments covering the following subtopics:
According to the Center for Poverty Research at the University of California, Davis (2018), a minimum wage "is the lowest wage that employers may legally pay to workers."
While New Zealand passed the first minimum wage law, the United States passed the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), which set the first federal minimum wage at $.25. The wage has increased approximately 22 times since 1938, and as of 2009, currently resides at $7.25 per hour. Throughout the history of its increase, both advocates and critics have debated the pros and cons of the increasing the minimum wage, juxtaposing increases in standard of living with its impact on economic sectors and indicators, specifically on consumer prices and the unemployment rate.
Today, the debate still rages, especially in light of recent state minimum wage laws, which have increased the minimum wage in some places to as high as $11.00. In fact, only five states (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina) do not have minimum wage laws; 14 states have minimum wages set at the federal rate; and 29 states have minimum wages higher than the current federal rate.