When Mandates Work
Raising Labor Standards at the Local Level

Edited by Michael Reich, Ken Jacobs, and Miranda Dietz

When Mandates WorkStarting in the 1990s, San Francisco launched a series of bold but relatively unknown public policy experiments to improve wages and benefits for thousands of local workers. Since then, scholars have documented the effects of those policies on compensation, productivity, job creation, and health coverage. Opponents predicted a range of negative impacts, but the evidence tells a decidedly different tale. This book brings together that evidence for the first time, reviews it as a whole, and considers its lessons for local, state, and federal policymakers.

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UC Press, $34.95


"As this important work shows, a decent society requires standards of minimal decency— and they can be designed in a way that improves rather than distorts markets. Mandatory reading for anyone interested in smart mandates."
Robert B. Reich, University of California, Berkeley

"With tight government budgets at all levels of government, mandates are likely to become increasingly common. When Mandates Work provides a comprehensive, impartial evaluation of a range of San Francisco's groundbreaking mandates, with surprisingly supportive results."
Alan B. Krueger, Princeton University

"When Mandates Work provides strong empirical evidence that intelligent regulation can improve the functioning of markets as well as improve the lives and living standards of workers—and can do it without reducing employment."
Eileen Appelbaum, Center for Economic and Policy Research

"The experience of one of this nation's great cities shows us that we can improve the quality of life for low-wage workers while protecting jobs and fostering economic prosperity. This is essential reading for anyone interested in economic fairness and public policy."
Senator Tom Harkin

"When Mandates Work makes important scholarly contributions toward our understanding of mandates for minimum wage and living wage, health care, domesticpartner benefits, and sick leave. The high quality and breadth of the coverage in this book should make it a standard reference for the next one to two decades."
Robert Pollin, University of Massachusetts Amherst

About the Authors

Michael Reich is Professor of Economics and Director of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Berkeley. Ken Jacobs is Chair of the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California, Berkeley. Miranda Dietz is a researcher working on employment and health care issues in California at the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California, Berkeley.


List of Tables
Abbreviations and Glossary

Chapter 1. When Do Mandates Work?
Ken Jacobs and Michael Reich

Chapter 2. Labor Market Impacts of San Francisco's Minimum Wage
Arindrajit Dube, Suresh Naidu, and Michael Reich

Chapter 3. Liftoff: Raising Wages at San Francisco Airport
Peter V. Hall, Ken Jacobs, and Michael Reich

Chapter 4. Living Wages and Home Care Workers
Candace Howes

Chapter 5. Health Spending Requirements in San Francisco
Carrie H. Colla, William H. Dow, and Arindrajit Dube

Chapter 6. Requiring Equal Benefi ts for Domestic Partners
Christy Mallory and Brad Sears

Chapter 7. Universal Paid Sick Leave
Vicky Lovell

Chapter 8. Enforcement of Labor Standards
Miranda Dietz, Donna Levitt, and Ellen Love

Chapter 9. Labor Policy and Local Economic Development
Miriam J. Wells

Chapter 10. Community Benefi t Agreements and Economic Development at Hunters Point Shipyard
Ken Jacobs

Chapter 11. Mandates: Lessons Learned and Future Prospects
Miranda Dietz, Ken Jacobs, and Michael Reich