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Characteristics of cities that pass living wage ordinances: Are certain conditions more conducive than others?

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  • Levin-Waldman, Oren M.
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    Abstract

    Cities that have passed living wage ordinances often do so because of the strong political appeal of local living wage campaigns as a response to the declining value of the minimum wage, the outsourcing of municipal services, and rising income inequality. These campaigns generally consist of coalitions of community organizations, religious groups, and often times labor organizations. Organized labor is not the primary force behind most living wage campaigns, but they are an important constituency. Unexplored, however, are the labor market and other characteristics of those cities that have passed ordinances. This paper looks at data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) and compares cities that passed living wage ordinances to those that did not. Cities in states with high union density, and with higher levels of income inequality and larger immigrant populations appear to be more likely to pass living wage ordinances than those cities that do not have these demographics. But as important as union support may be, without key demographic and economic characteristics, it is nonetheless insufficient to achieve living wage ordinances in most cases.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics).

    Volume (Year): 37 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 6 (December)
    Pages: 2201-2213

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:37:y:2008:i:6:p:2201-2213

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175

    Related research

    Keywords: Living wages Unions Labor markets Income inequality Immigrants;

    References

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    1. Lawrence Katz & Alan Krueger, 1992. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on the Fast Food Industry," Working Papers 678, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    2. Peter Kennedy, 2003. "A Guide to Econometrics, 5th Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 5, volume 1, number 026261183x, December.
    3. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2002. "Skill-Biased Technological Change and Rising Wage Inequality: Some Problems and Puzzles," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 733-783, October.
    4. Machin, Stephen, 1997. "The decline of labour market institutions and the rise in wage inequality in Britain," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 647-657, April.
    5. Hungerford, Thomas L, 1993. "U.S. Income Mobility in the Seventies and Eighties," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 39(4), pages 403-17, December.
    6. Peter Gottschalk, 1997. "Inequality, Income Growth, and Mobility: The Basic Facts," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 21-40, Spring.
    7. Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 1997. "Institutional Changes and Rising Wage Inequality: Is There a Linkage?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 75-96, Spring.
    8. Chiswick, Barry R, 1991. "Speaking, Reading, and Earnings among Low-Skilled Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(2), pages 149-70, April.
    9. Oren Levin-Waldman, 2000. "The Rhetorical Evolution of the Minimum Wage," Macroeconomics, EconWPA 0004027, EconWPA.
    10. Mark D. Brenner, 2004. "The Economic Impact of Living Wage Ordinances," Working Papers, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst wp80, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
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    Cited by:
    1. Levin-Waldman, Oren M., 2009. "Urban path dependency theory and the living wage: Were cities that passed ordinances destined to do so?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 672-683, August.
    2. Suzanne Clain, 2012. "Explaining the Passage of Living Wage Legislation in the U.S," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 40(3), pages 315-327, September.

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