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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2004): Minimum Wage - Overseas

THE ECONOMIC EFFECTS OF LIVING WAGE LAWS: A PROVISIONAL REVIEW

S. Adams and D. Neumark

Urban Affairs Review, Vol. 40, 2004, p.210-245

Nearly 200 cities and local authorities in the USA have passed living wage laws since the mid-1990s. The living wage movement aims to reduce poverty, but may fail to do so by triggering job losses. The article summarises existing research on the effects of living wages on remuneration, employment and family income.

HUNGER DISCIPLINE AND SOCIAL PARASITES; THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF THE LIVING WAGE

T. Robinson

Urban Affairs Review, Vol. 40, 2004, p.246-268

The article examines how New Deal commitments to a living wage were overturned by free market forces after the 1970s capital accumulation crisis. A polarised society then emerged in which the wealthy prospered while the prospects of working class Americans declined. Present-day advocates of the living wage attack this state of affairs and argue that businesses receiving government subsidies or contracts should pay workers a living wage which would allow them to support their families in reasonable comfort. The article explores arguments for and against the movement using Denver, Colorado, as a case study.

MINIMUM WAGES, LOW PAY AND UNEMPLOYMENT

D. Meulders, R. Plasman and F. Rycx

Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004

Low-paid employment is a key issue for labour market policy. The essays in this book provide new evidence regarding the impact of minimum wage legislation on employment, earnings mobility among low-paid workers, job satisfaction across the earnings distribution, unemployment traps, the demand for low-skilled workers, and the existence of monoponistic competition. Empirical findings cover six European countries, that is, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

THINKING ABOUT LOCAL LIVING WAGE REQUIREMENTS

T.J. Bartik

Urban Affairs Review, Vol. 40, 2004, p.269-299

The article reviews knowledge about the living wage, a US local government requirement that businesses receiving city contracts or economic development subsidies should pay a living wage above the federal minimum wage. More than 100 US local authorities have adopted a living wage policy. The article covers the design of living wage ordinances, post-enactment effects of living wages, and the living wage movement.

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