Though the NFL season’s kickoff is still three months away, controversy already plagues the league. Most recently, NFL cheerleaders made the headlines with lawsuits over their low wages.
On Jan. 31, a former San Francisco 49ers cheerleader filed a class action suit against the NFL and 26 of its teams on behalf of all cheerleaders employed by the NFL for the past four years seeking $100 million to $300 million in damages. This cheerleader, called “Kelsey K.,” alleged that the NFL and member teams conspired to artificially suppress the wages of cheerleaders through collusion.
A federal judge dismissed this claim on May 26 at the request of the NFL and its member teams because he believed that the complaint did not present any evidence of collusion or antitrust behavior. Yet, because this lawsuit was just the latest in a string of allegations against the NFL of underpaying cheerleaders, it is important to make it clear that basic economics — not illegal collusion — is why cheerleaders choose to work for such low pay…
Read the rest at: The Washington Examiner
At the 8th annual European Students For Liberty Conference, held in Prague, Czech Republic, I asked students which policies make it more difficult for them to succeed in their home countries. Though I heard a diverse array of answers, one response repeatedly came up. They told me that inflexible labor markets are the main way many European governments decrease economic opportunity for their youngest residents. This inflexibility leads to high youth unemployment and leaves young people with a disproportionate share of temporary work.
The students’ complaints centered on their inability to secure long-term employment. Labor laws across the European Union do not recognize the U.S. concept of employment at-will. In the United States, if they are not discriminating, companies can fire workers for no reason at all. But employment contracts in Europe are indefinite unless the contracts are specifically set for a short period of time.
Read the rest on Economics 21, here.
On New Year’s Day fourteen states raised their minimum wages, with increases ranging from small adjustments for inflation to major hikes of 10 percent or more. Minimum wages do more harm than good, and they particularly hurt the young.
Teenagers and individuals in their early twenties often lack the skills that make them valuable to employers. Therefore, they must learn these skills on the job while not producing much for the businesses who hire them. When states (or the federal government) set high minimum wages, hiring unskilled young people will not make financial sense for most employers.
The youth (ages 16 to 24) labor force participation rate currently stands at 55 percent, down from 66 percent in 1994. While there are many reasons for this decline, the role of minimum wages cannot be ignored.
Read the rest on Economics 21 here.