Massachusetts is debating a bill that would increase the minimum wage from $8 to $11 by 2015, and then peg future increases to inflation.The increase would be a boon to low-income workers and help reinvigorate a stagnant economy.

Critics of minimum wage increases point to the neoliberal consensus (“textbook economics”): if you increase the price of something (in this case labor) demand for that product goes down and you get less employment. In a state of equilibrium and perfect competition, this analysis is absolutely correct, the problem is, the world isn’t a textbook. Anyone who has ever worked a minimum wage job knows that markets are not as fluid as economists assume. Let’s look at a few “real world” situations.

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