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When Do Living Wages Bite?


  • Scott Adams
  • David Neumark


Many features of living wage laws may influence the strength of their effects on the wages and employment of low-skill workers. Echoing past research, we find that business assistance living wage laws generate stronger wage increases and employment reductions than do contractor-only laws. However, broader enforcement or implementation as well as the geographic concentration of living wage laws also appear to strengthen their effects. Finally, geographic concentration may be more significant than the distinction between business assistance and contractor-only living wage laws.

Suggested Citation

  • Scott Adams & David Neumark, 2004. "When Do Living Wages Bite?," PPIC Working Papers 2004.09, Public Policy Institute of California.
  • Handle: RePEc:ppi:ppicwp:2004.09

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Scott Adams & David Neumark, 2005. "Living Wage Effects: New and Improved Evidence," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 19(1), pages 80-102, February.
    2. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
    3. David Neumark & Scott Adams, 2003. "Do Living Wage Ordinances Reduce Urban Poverty?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(3).
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    Cited by:

    1. Neumark, David & Thompson, Matthew & Brindisi, Francesco & Koyle, Leslie & Reck, Clayton, 2012. "Simulating the Economic Impacts of Living Wage Mandates Using New Public and Administrative Data: Evidence for New York City," IZA Discussion Papers 7113, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Adams, Scott & Neumark, David, 2005. "The effects of living wage laws: Evidence from failed and derailed living wage campaigns," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 177-202, September.
    3. Addison, John T., 2006. "Politico-Economic Causes of Labor Regulation in the United States: Rent Seeking, Alliances, Raising Rivals' Costs (Even Lowering One's Own?), and Interjurisdictional Competition," IZA Discussion Papers 2381, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Suzanne Clain, 2012. "Explaining the Passage of Living Wage Legislation in the U.S," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 40(3), pages 315-327, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs


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