Working Papers

The Effects of California’s Public Policy on Jobs and the Economy Since 2011


Between 2011 and 2016, California enacted a set of 51 policy measures addressing workers’ rights, environmental issues, safety net programs, taxation, and infrastructure and housing. This paper labels these policies as the California Policy Model (CPM), and assesses some of the claims of critics and supporters regarding their impact on the state’s economy. It analyzes arguments made by critics that contend the CPM would reduce employment and slow economic growth. The paper also evaluates supporters’ arguments that the CPM would raise wages for low-wage workers, increase access to health insurance, and lower wage inequality. It finds results that suggest the CPM did in fact lead to increased wage growth and health insurance access and decreased wage inequality without reducing employment or economic growth.