Urban path dependency theory and the living wage: Were cities that passed ordinances destined to do so?
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.
Volume (Year): 38 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
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