Local Living Wage Ordinances: Experience, Evidence and Best Practice

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November 19, 2013
By: Jody Knauss, COWS

Living wage ordinances are enacted by local governments to raise job standards for workers at firms that do business with a city or county, or that benefit from taxpayer assistance. At least 140 communities in the U.S. have passed such laws over the past two decades, and there is now a significant body of research on their effect. The evidence shows that living wage ordinances raise wages for low-income workers, often by a significant amount, with few if any measurable negative effects on either employment or taxes. Any government considering a living wage ordinance of its own should consider the track record of living wage laws in other communities in order to implement the best living wage law possible. This white paper provides these details. 

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