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The Economic Impact of Living Wage Ordinances

  • Mark D. Brenner
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    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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    File URL: http://www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/working_papers/working_papers_51-100/WP80.pdf
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    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. 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.
    2. 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.).
    3. Lawrence Katz & Alan Krueger, 1992. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on the Fast Food Industry," Working Papers 678, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    4. David Card & Lawrence Katz & Alan Krueger, 1993. "Comment on David Neumark and William Wascher, 'Employment Effects of Minimum and Subminimum Wages: Panel Data on State Minimum Wage Laws'," Working Papers 695, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    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. Zavodny, Madeline, 2000. "The effect of the minimum wage on employment and hours," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(6), pages 729-750, November.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    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. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. Neumark, David & Wascher, William, 2007. "Minimum Wages and Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 2570, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. David Neumark & Scott Adams, 2003. "Do Living Wage Ordinances Reduce Urban Poverty?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(3).
    18. 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.
    19. 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.
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