Seattle's plan to raise its minimum wage to $15 will be great for economists—the city will become a "gigantic laboratory for one of the most ambitious, and quite possibly misbegotten, labor market experiments in recent memory," observes Jordan Weissmann at Slate. But it probably won't be good for Seattle. While there's evidence both for and against raising the minimum wage, the evidence for it generally assumes that it won't rise too high or too fast. Seattle's plan would give it possibly the highest wage floor in the world.
"Any plan that makes hiring a worker more expensive than in France should be cause for concern," Weissman argues. Employers in such high-wage European countries have flocked to automation, replacing workers with digital checkout counters. Seattle's businesses could follow suit, if they don't just pack up and move to the far cheaper suburbs around the city. Still, Weissman is "oddly glad" Seattle's trying this. "Better that one city's job market crash than a whole country's." Click for Weissman's full column.