Not much research behind $12 minimum wage proposal

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton cited economist Alan Krueger during a debate Saturday to defend her position that the federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 an hour, should be $12 an hour, not the $15 that many liberals activists are calling for.

Krueger's position, in turn, is based mainly on three studies, only one of which specifically looked at the potential impact of a $12 minimum wage.

Of the three, only one involved recent data in a major country — specifically, the impact of the United Kingdom's minimum wage, which it first adopted in 1999. However, the U.K. minimum wage is the equivalent of $10.20, not $12. Asked by the Washington Examiner what, if any, other research he was using, Krueger did not cite any.

"See my NYT article for your other questions," Krueger said, referring to a widely cited October New York Times column he wrote endorsing a $12 minimum wage. The column cited the UK study; an April report by the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank backed by organized labor; and a 1994 study co-authored by Krueger on the impact of New Jersey raising its rate.

The column was apparently convincing to Clinton. Asked why she was not backing a $15 minimum wage like rival candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Martin O'Malley, she said, "I do take what Alan Krueger said seriously. He is the foremost expert in our country on the minimum wage, and what its effects are. ... That is why I support a $12 minimum wage."