US Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman said on Monday that a minimum wage increase would help low-paid workers and the economy, with few adverse side effects.
Although the national minimum wage was raised a few years ago, it's still very low by historical standards, having consistently lagged behind both inflation and average U.S. wage levels, Krugman said in his latest column article on The New York Times.
Almost 60 percent of U.S. minimum-wage workers are in either food service or sales, and the inflation-adjusted wages of workers in retail trade have fallen almost 30 percent since 1973, he noted.
"We have a lot of evidence on what happens when you raise the minimum wage. And the evidence is overwhelmingly positive: hiking the minimum wage has little or no adverse effect on employment, while significantly increasing workers' earnings," Krugman said.
Earlier this year the Economic Policy Institute estimated that an increase in the national minimum wage to 10.10 U.S. dollars from its current 7.25 dollars would benefit 30 million workers, he said.
Raising the minimum wage would help many Americans, and might actually be politically possible as it was supported by Democrats, independents and majorities of Republicans, he added.