Same Job, Same Wage?
Every time I visit Australia, one of the first things I see in the news is a discussion of minimum wages. Pay rates in Australia are to some extent set by the government; these days by the Fair Work Commission. Today there is a news story that a labor union will seek to have teenagers paid the same wage as adults for the same job. This increase in youth wages will decrease the quantity of young workers demanded, especially as that demand is typically quite elastic. Worse still, this will prevent some kids from obtaining job experience, thus reducing their human capital and making them less employable in the future. As Peter Seeger sang, “When Will They Ever Learn?”