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The Economic Impact of Living Wage Ordinances

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  • Mark D. Brenner
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    Abstract

    Drawing upon both prospective and retrospective evidence, this paper reviews the economic effects of local living wage ordinances. I concentrate my attention on the higher costs these measures create for covered firms, as well as their budgetary implications vis-à-vis cities that adopt them. I also briefly review the effect that living wage laws have had on bidding environment for city service contracts. Based on a range of cost estimates associated with living wage laws, I then examine the adjustment channels firms are likely to pursue when adjusting to higher labor costs, including: raising prices; increasing firm productivity; redistributing income within the firm; laying off employees; and relocating out of the area covered by the living wage mandate.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst in its series Working Papers with number wp80.

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    Date of creation: 2004
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    Handle: RePEc:uma:periwp:wp80

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    1. Campbell, Carl M, III, 1993. "Do Firms Pay Efficiency Wages? Evidence with Data at the Firm Level," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(3), pages 442-70, July.
    2. Zavodny, Madeline, 2000. "The effect of the minimum wage on employment and hours," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(6), pages 729-750, November.
    3. Burkhauser, Richard V & Couch, Kenneth A & Wittenburg, David C, 2000. "A Reassessment of the New Economics of the Minimum Wage Literature with Monthly Data from the Current Population Survey," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(4), pages 653-80, October.
    4. Robert Pollin & Mark Brenner, 2000. "Economic Analysis of Santa Monica Living Wage Proposal," Research Reports rr2, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    5. Raff, Daniel M G & Summers, Lawrence H, 1987. "Did Henry Ford Pay Efficiency Wages?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(4), pages S57-86, October.
    6. Neumark, David & Wascher, William L., 2007. "Minimum Wages and Employment," Foundations and Trends(R) in Microeconomics, now publishers, vol. 3(1–2), pages 1-182, March.
    7. Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1992. "The effect of the minimum wage on the fast-food industry," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 6-21, October.
    8. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1987. "The Causes and Consequences of the Dependence of Quality on Price," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(1), pages 1-48, March.
    9. Alan Manning & Ted To, 2002. "Oligopsony and Monopsonistic Competition in Labor Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 155-174, Spring.
    10. repec:fth:prinin:298 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. David Neumark & William Wascher, 1993. "Employment effects of minimum and subminimum wages: reply to Card, Katz, and Krueger," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 144, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    12. Alan B. Krueger & David Card, 2000. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1397-1420, December.
    13. Daniel Aaronson, 2001. "Price Pass-Through And The Minimum Wage," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 158-169, February.
    14. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-93, March.
    15. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 772-93, September.
    16. David Neumark & Scott Adams, 2000. "Do Living Wage Ordinances Reduce Urban Poverty?," NBER Working Papers 7606, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Levine, David I, 1992. "Can Wage Increases Pay for Themselves? Tests with a Production Function," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(414), pages 1102-15, September.
    18. Linneman, Peter, 1982. "The Economic Impacts of Minimum Wage Laws: A New Look at an Old Question," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(3), pages 443-69, June.
    19. Cappelli, Peter & Chauvin, Keith, 1991. "An Interplant Test of the Efficiency Wage Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(3), pages 769-87, August.
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    Cited by:
    1. 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.

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