Living Wage: Building a Fair Economy


The Living Wage Shows How Living Wage Proposals are Affordable for Both Cities and Employers, and Reveals How such Proposals Can Play an Important Role in Reversing the Twenty-Five-Year Decline in Wages Experienced by Most Working People in America.
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The Living Wage Shows How Living Wage Proposals are Affordable for Both Cities and Employers, and Reveals How such Proposals Can Play an Important Role in Reversing the Twenty-Five-Year Decline in Wages Experienced by Most Working People in America.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Recently, Senator Edward Kennedy and Representative Richard Gephardt introduced a bill to raise the minimum wage by $1 per hour by the year 2000. Yet even if the bill passes, according to arguments presented here, many minimum-wage workers will still live below the poverty line. Talk of alternatives among policy makers has focused on the "living wage" initiative, which would require companies that receive government contracts to compensate their workers in sufficient pay and benefits to raise them above the poverty level. On the side usually championed by Democrats are Pollin, a professor of economics and codirector of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Luce, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The authors favor implementing the initiative on a national level and bolster their arguments with extensive research, often attempting to show why conservatives who oppose the measure are shortsighted. Those not passionately interested in this issue will find the writing dry and rife with policy terminology. This is more of an academic study than a general overview of the political and sociological implications of such an initiative. However, according to the authors, the core findings on which the book is based most likely played a role in living wage legislation that was recently adopted in Los Angeles; just so, the book may help other activists raise the pitch of the debate.
Library Journal
Many economists cringe when they hear the word fair in economic debates (or book titles). These purists believe that economists step outside their professional roles when they begin to advocate policies or impose their own value judgments. Pollin (co-director, Political Economy Research Inst., Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst) and Luce, a former government economist, provide ample evidence supporting the living-wage proposal (stipulating a higher minimum wage for firms with city contracts) adopted in Los Angeles, but they are not reticent about stating their own opinions. They focus on the Los Angeles proposal but in their concluding chapter make their case for national-level changes, most of which involve redistributing income from the wealthy to the poor. They are quick to make such controversial statements as "businesses can afford for their costs to rise 1% and not have to raise price" but the analytical chapters are balanced and informative. Recommended for public and academic collections in economics, politics, and urban policy. -- A.J. Sobczak, Covina, CA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565845886
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 8/28/2000
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.49 (w) x 8.24 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
Preface and Acknowledgments
Ch. 1 A Movement for Economic Justice 1
Ch. 2 Minimum Wage, Prevailing Wage, Living Wage 26
Ch. 3 Living Wages and Urban Development Policies 54
Ch. 4 How Much Do Living Wages Cost and Who Pays for Them? 87
Ch. 5 Who Benefits from the Living Wage? 136
Ch. 6 Toward a National Living Wage Policy 163
App. I Suggestions for Researching Living Wage Proposals 194
App. II Living Wage and Similar Measures in the U.S., 1989-1997 204
App. III Methodology and Data Sources for Chapter 4 215
App. IV Underlying Calculations for Individual Benefit Figures in Chapter Five 224
Notes 229
Index 237
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