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Do Living Wage Ordinances Reduce Urban Poverty?

  • David Neumark
  • Scott Adams

Living wage ordinances typically mandate that businesses under contract with a city or, in some cases, receiving assistance from a city, must pay their workers a wage sufficient to support a family financially. We estimate the effects of these ordinances on wages, hours, and employment in cities that have adopted such legislation. We then examine the effects of these laws on poverty. Our findings indicate that living wage ordinances boost wages of low-wage workers. Moreover, we find a moderate negative employment effect. Finally, some of the evidence suggests that living wages achieve modest reductions in urban poverty.

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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 38 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 ()

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:38:y:2003:i:3:p490-521
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  1. David Neumark & Mark Schweitzer & William Wascher, 1998. "The Effects of Minimum Wages on the Distribution of Family Incomes: A Non-Parametric Analysis," NBER Working Papers 6536, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jean Baldwin Grossman, 1983. "The Impact of the Minimum Wage on Other Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(3), pages 359-378.
  3. Charles Brown & Curtis Gilroy & Andrew Kohen, 1981. "Time-Series Evidence of the Effect of the Minimum Wage on Youth Employment and Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 0790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Brown, Charles & Gilroy, Curtis & Kohen, Andrew, 1982. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on Employment and Unemployment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 487-528, June.
  5. David Neumark & DMark Schweitzer & DaWilliam Wascher, 2004. "Minimum Wage Effects throughout the Wage Distribution," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  6. Mincer, Jacob, 1976. "Unemployment Effects of Minimum Wages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S87-104, August.
  7. Edward M. Gramlich, 1976. "Impact of Minimum Wages on Other Wages, Employment, and Family Incomes," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 7(2), pages 409-462.
  8. David Neumark & William L. Wascher, 2008. "Minimum Wages," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262141027, June.
  9. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1993. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," NBER Working Papers 4509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Richard V. Burkhauser & Kenneth A. Couch & David C. Wittenburg, 1996. "Who gets what from minimum wage hikes: A re-estimation of Card and Krueger's distributional analysis in "Myth and Measurement: The New Economics of the Minimum Wage."," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 49(3), pages 547-552, April.
  11. Victor R. Fuchs & Alan B. Krueger & James M. Poterba, 1998. "Economists' Views about Parameters, Values, and Policies: Survey Results in Labor and Public Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1387-1425, September.
  12. David Neumark & William Wascher, 1997. "Do Minimum Wages Fight Poverty?," NBER Working Papers 6127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Ashenfelter, Orley & Smith, Robert S, 1979. "Compliance with the Minimum Wage Law," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(2), pages 333-50, April.
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