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The treatment of minimum wage in undergraduate economics textbooks revisited

Veronika Dolar ()

International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education, 2013, vol. 4, issue 2, 157-182

Abstract: The discussion about how economics is taught in undergraduate courses is becoming more topical and professors have recently been accused of preaching free-market fundamentalism. In this paper, I review the coverage of the minimum wage in Principles of Economics textbooks to determine whether the aforementioned criticism of free-market fundamentalism applies. Staying within the contours of neoclassical paradigm I propose some examples to present new implications of the minimum wage that are rarely discussed in current textbooks. I provide a richer framework that highlights the effect of the minimum wage in a more nuanced way and discuss the consequences of the minimum wage laws that reach beyond the basic supply-demand diagram. Hopefully, this more comprehensive treatment of the minimum wage topic also helps students develop critical thinking and put to rest criticism that professors teach economics in undergraduate courses as a settled science. In addition, this paper can serve as a blueprint for economics instructors on how to teach the topic of minimum wage laws in their own classes.

Keywords: minimum wage; unemployment; pedagogy; critical thinking; welfare; economics education; undergraduate textbooks; economics textbooks; economic principles; free market fundamentalism. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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