Posted by: Middleclass Search | July 15, 2013

Minimum Wage and Metadata

NSA is not the only organization that is having problems with metadata.  Advocates for and against minimum wage are finding that the studies they have been using to argue for or against raising the minimum wage over the past years have questionable validity. The data from over 60 studies used over the past years to predict the loss of lower wage jobs by raising the minimum wage were placed in a large database.  This combined database was then used to determine the amount of unemployment caused by the raising of a minimum wage. The results of the analysis on the metadata showed that raising the minimum wage had no effect on employment.

As a system engineer I have seen this before, in small databases it is easy to unintentionally introduce biases into the data the larger the database the more likely the biases cancel each other out. Apparently in an effort to reject or support the minimum wage issue the databases had become corrupt by these biases, intentionally or unintentionally, but when the data was combined the biases were canceled out.

The next time an economist advises you that raising the minimum wage will cause unemployment take a real hard look at how he or she came to this conclusion.


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