Employment Policies Institute
|Employment Policies Institute|
|Headquarters||Washington, D.C., United States|
The Employment Policies Institute (EPI) is a fiscally conservative non-profit American think tank that conducts research on employment issues like minimum wage and health care. EPI was established in 1991 and has been described as "a nonprofit research group that studies issues of entry-level employment."
According to Source Watch, EPI is one of several front groups created by Richard Berman of Berman and Company, a Washington, D.C. public relations organization that lobbies for the restaurant, hotel, alcoholic beverage and tobacco industries. The Employment Policies Institute has no employees of its own. Instead, according to the New York Times, Berman and Company charges the nonprofit institute for the services its employees provide to the institute.
EPI should not be confused with the older, similarly named Economic Policy Institute, which is a liberal think tank advocating for low to moderate-income families in the United States.
EPI has released a number of studies that look at the economic effects of policies (like the minimum wage, health care mandates, and employment tax credits) on low-wage labor markets. EPI also regularly analyzes job market data in the United States Typically, studies are contracted by university economists and published under EPI's name. The reliability of the studies sponsored by EPI has been questioned.
EPI argues that increases to the minimum wage also increase unemployment among groups of workers like teens and less-educated and unskilled workers. Economists have varied views on the impact of minimum wage laws.
EPI weighed in when Princeton University professors David Card and Alan Krueger concluded that a 1992 minimum wage hike in New Jersey did not decrease employment in the state. Card and Krueger surveyed fast food employers in New Jersey before and after an April 1992 increase in the state minimum wage (from $4.25 to $5.05 per hour) and found a slight increase in employment. Critics of the analysis, including EPI, noted that because Card and Krueger's research was based on informal headcounts acquired through telephone surveys, it could not be easily replicated. Subsequent analysis of these restaurants' payroll data records found that employment actually decreased by 4.6 percent after the minimum wage hike, and EPI’s findings were later verified by independent economists. This result would mean that the total amount of wages paid to minimum wage employees in the fast food industry in New Jersey increased 13.4 percent as a result of the increase in the minimum wage (employment declined 4.6 percent, but the minimum wage increased 18.8 percent, for a total change in wages paid of 13.4 percent).
In 2000, Card and Krueger redid their study using a data set from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and reproduced their earlier conclusions. They also showed that Neumark and Wascher's results were due to a non-random biased sample of restaurants.
In the time since the Card-Krueger study was released, many economists have tried to look at the effects of minimum wage increases on employment prospects. A 2006 review of over 100 studies on the minimum wage concluded that the general consensus view agreed that wage increases hurt employment opportunities for youths.
Staff and Management
Michael Saltsman has been identified on a number of occasions as EPI’s research director.
The reliability of EPI's sponsored studies have been questioned. Saul D. Hoffman, a professor of economics at the University of Delaware, for instance, examined the employment data of a 2012 EPI sponsored study and concluded that the limited employment data set that was picked was skewed. Once the employment data set was corrected, the data showed that the increase in minimum wage in New York had no negative effect on employment, the opposite result of what the institute announced in its news release. Similary, Ian Reifowitz of the Huffington Post raised concerns with the facts in an advertisement that EPI placed in the New York Times in January 2014.
Governance and Finances
Berman and Company, a for-profit advertising firm, bills EPI for the services that Richard Berman and others provide to the institute. In 2012, Berman and Company was paid $1.1 million by EPI, according to its tax returns, 44 percent of its total budget. Other funds were used to buy advertisements. EPI's tax return shows that the $2.4 million in listed donations it received in 2012 came from only 11 contributors, who wrote checks for as much as $500,000 apiece.
Defeat The Debt, is a project of EPI that is focused on the national debt and was launched towards the end of 2009.
- "About EPI". Employment Policies Institute.
- Whitaker, Barbara (June 9, 2007). "Ample Jobs, but Youths Are Choosy". New York Times.
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- Lipton, Eric (9 February 2014). "Fight Over Minimum Wage Illustrates Web of Industry Ties". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
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- Clabaugh, Jeff (July 7, 2010). "Summer jobs for teens down 38 percent". Portland Business Journal.
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- "Myth and Measurement: The New Economics of the Minimum Wage". The Cato Journal Book Review. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
- "The Effect of New Jersey's Minimum Wage Increase on Fast-Food Employment: A Re-Evaluation Using Payroll Records". The National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
- Neumark, David; William Wascher (August 1995). "The Effect of New Jersey's Minimum Wage Increase on Fast-Food Employment: A Re-Evaluation Using Payroll Records". National Bureau of Economics Research.
- "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Review of Evidence from the New Minimum Wage Research". National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved August 24, 2010.