Does America deserve a raise? Everything you need to know about the minimum wage.

Look no further than the minimum wage for affirmation of the age-old adage about economists: if you put two economists in a room, you get two opinions.

Of course, economists aren’t the only ones divided on this policy. Depending on whom you talk to, increasing the minimum wage is either an essential step to prevent poverty or a roadblock to employment and economic recovery. Democrats think that raising the minimum wage will help them in the 2014 elections, while Republicans are staunch in their opposition.

Throughout the week, the Chicago Policy Review will take a look at the extensive literature that exists on the minimum wage to bridge the gap between academic research on the topic and policy practice. We will post research briefs on seminal studies that have investigated the effects of the minimum wage, and we will wrap up with interviews with policymakers on the front lines of this debate.

As is our habit here at Chicago Harris, we will start with the data. Explore the characteristics of minimum wage workers as well as the history and current state of the minimum wage in the United States in the infographics below.

Feature Photo: cc/(Center for Popular Democracy)'
Scarlett Swerdlow
Scarlett Swerdlow is a staff writer for the Chicago Policy Review and is an MPP student at the Harris School of Public Policy. She is interested in public finance (public pension) issues.

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