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Urban path dependency theory and the living wage: Were cities that passed ordinances destined to do so?

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  • Levin-Waldman, Oren M.
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    Abstract

    Most accounts of why cities pass living wage ordinances stress the importance of grassroots coalitions that have successfully mobilized bias out of concerns for justice and fairness. On the basis of data from the Integrated Public Micro-Use Data Series (IPUMS) for the years 1950-1990, this paper argues that cities that passed ordinances had labor market characteristics that may have predisposed them to do so. These cities were also more likely to pass ordinances because of transformations in their labor markets that were occurring over several decades. It is these transformations that constitute a form of path dependence. Consequently, it is this path dependence that may account for why some cities were more conducive to the development of grassroots organizations and coalitions that were able to capitalize on changes over a 40-year period as a basis for mobilizing bias. Although the story of post-World War II economic transformations is nothing new, this paper seeks to make a systematic attempt to quantify the extent to which they may have made certain cities more likely to pass ordinances.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6W5H-4W0SK1D-4/2/5b185a1e351da1796ba9b64e869227ea
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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): 38 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 4 (August)
    Pages: 672-683

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:38:y:2009:i:4:p:672-683

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

    Related research

    Keywords: Living wage Path dependency Labor markets Economic transformation Income inequality;

    References

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    1. John Walton, 1998. "Urban Conflict and Social Movements in Poor Countries: Theory and Evidence of Collective Action," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(3), pages 460-481, 09.
    2. Altman, Morris, 2000. "A behavioral model of path dependency: the economics of profitable inefficiency and market failure," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 127-145.
    3. North, D.C., 1990. "A Transaction Cost Theory of Politics," Papers 144, Washington St. Louis - School of Business and Political Economy.
    4. 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.
    5. Levin-Waldman, Oren M., 2008. "Characteristics of cities that pass living wage ordinances: Are certain conditions more conducive than others?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 2201-2213, December.
    6. Laura A. Reese, 2006. "Not Just Another Determinants Piece: Path Dependency and Local Tax Abatements," Review of Policy Research, Policy Studies Organization, vol. 23(2), pages 491-504, 03.
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