For a while, I’ve been keeping a bookmark folder called ‘Papers, Please’ of all the papers I’d like to check out in the future. For those I do get to look at, I’ve compiled my observations, with the intent of making this another kind of roundup. I noticed a bunch of them were focused on questions of employment, wages and productivity, so it made sense to pull those out into a post, and stay on the lookout for similar groupings in the future as the section expands.
Condemnation of item #7 seems inadequately justified. It is plausible that their statistical controls were inadequate even in light of the online Appendix G, and personally I would have liked a lot more discussion because I have nothing like the background to judge. But it is unfair to imply they did not consider the hypothesis; they inadequately discussed it, but they do seem to consider that they have largely ruled it out by statistical means.
Re: #5: the second finding of minimum wage workers not being from impoverished families 90% of the time doesn’t surprise me at all (although I have done a lot of research on the matter, so I am cheating). The vast majority of minimum wage workers are high school/college students and stay at home spouses who want a part time job while their kids are in school or the like. Usually full time workers making minimum wage stop making minimum wage quickly if they are sticking with the job, or quickly move to a new job once they have proven themselves.
For example, I used to know a guy who head hunted fast food restaurant drive through employees. The good ones made 3-4$ per hour more than minimum wage and were actively sought, and the best made 5-6$ more, and this was back when the minimum wage was about 7$ or so (2000’s). Most fast food employees were kids on the first jobs and were bad at their job, but the good ones quickly got a premium to stay.