In November of 2015, the University of New Hampshire Survey Centre conducted a survey of economists on the minimum wage. The survey was conducted on behalf of the Employment Policies Institute––a right-wing think tank. However, 59% of those who responded identified as Democrat, with 34% identifying as Independent and only 7% identifying as Republican. 166 economists answered the survey in total, corresponding to a response rate of 30%.
The first major finding was that 60% of economists in the sample favoured some increase to the federal minimum wage. The chart below plots the distribution of responses to the question, "Currently the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, do you support or oppose raising the federal minimum wage at all?"
The second major finding was that nearly 75% of economists in the sample opposed raising the federal minimum wage to $15/hour, as advocated by politicians such as Bernie Sanders. The chart below plots the distribution of responses to the question, "Currently the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, do you support or oppose raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour?"
In fact, the average minimum wage preferred by economists in the sample was $9.59/hour. Respondents were about evenly divided over whether a $15/hour minimum wage would increase or decrease the poverty rate. But the vast majority agreed that it would have a negative effect on employment, and that it would make it harder for small firms to stay in business.