Date of Award

6-2020

Culminating Project Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Applied Economics: M.S.

Department

Economics

College

School of Public Affairs

First Advisor

Kenneth Rebeck

Second Advisor

Patricia Hughes

Third Advisor

Richard A. Sundheim

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Minimum Wage, Crime

Abstract

Labor market conditions are known to be an important factor for determining crime rates. This is why policy makers suggest increasing the minimum wage can help reduce crime. The argument is based on the assumption that raising the minimum wage will not have undue negative employment effects and result in improving the legitimate labor market by enticing those who would commit crimes to enter the legitimate labor market. Using a cross-section of the 50 states, this study examines overall youth property crime and overall youth violent crime from the 2000-2016 Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) to determine what effect there is from a state setting their minimum wage above the federal minimum wage. I additionally examine the individual categories of youth property crime and youth violent crime to see if they behave similarly to the overall indices. My models use fixed effects panel estimation. There is a statistically significant negative effect from a state setting their minimum wage above the federal minimum wage on overall property crime and three of its categories. One category of property crime and one category of violent crime show a statistically significant positive effect from a state setting their minimum wage above the federal minimum wage. Overall violent crime and three of its categories do not show a statistically significant effect from a state setting their minimum wage above the federal minimum wage.

Comments/Acknowledgements

I want to express my deepest gratitude for the knowledge imparted and guidance provided by my committee. Dr. Rebeck, Dr. Hughes and Dr. Sundheim gave me the skills and support needed to overcome the challenges of this project.

I want to thank my fellow students at St. Cloud State University for aiding me through my educational journey. Studying with them was a great aid to my understanding the material being taught.

Finally, I want to thank my family in supporting my move to St. Cloud from Houston. They understood it would be a shock moving to a place with long cold winters from a place where winter might happen once every few years. Because of this, they made sure I had everything I needed to survive such a transition.

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