From Alan Manning, in Journal of Economic Perspectives (a journal of the American Economic Association), “The Elusive Employment Effect of the Minimum Wage”:
Much of the literature on the employment of the minimum wage focuses on the question of “what is the employment effect of the minimum wage” using an empirical specification in which the effect is always negative, zero, or positive. This approach has reached the point of diminishing returns. A balanced view of the evidence makes it clear that existing evidence of a negative employment effect is not robust to reasonable variation in specification, even when the wage effect is robust. This might mean that the labor demand elasticity is very small (and this paper has discussed some reasons why that might be the case), but it might mean that the effect of a higher minimum wage on employment (within the existing range of minimum wages) is not negative at all. The claim that the employment effect might not be negative continues to be met with incredulity in some quarters or to be euphemistically described as “unconventional.” But as soon as one acknowledges that efficiency wage effects might be important or that labor markets have frictions—ideas that appear in mainstream introductory-level textbooks and can hardly be described as unconventional—one has to acknowledge that the impact of the minimum wage on employment is theoretically ambiguous.
Of course, there is some level of the minimum wage at which employment
will decline significantly. The empirical literature on the minimum wage should
reorient itself towards investigating the determinants of that point. …
That’s from the first article in a JEP symposium on minimum wages, in the Winter Issue of the JEP.