When Mandates Work


When Mandates Work, Michael Reich, Ken Jacobs, and Miranda Dietz, eds. University of California Press. January 2014.

Starting 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.

  • "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

  • 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


  • What San Diego Can Learn From San Francisco’s Minimum Wage Bump
    Voice of San Diego | April 29, 2014

    The Rise of the Progressive City
    The Nation | April 2, 2014

    All Economics Is Local
    New York Times | March 12, 2014

    San Francisco’s Minimum Wage Hike Pays Off
    Huffington Post | March 6, 2014

    What Can We Learn From How The Last Tech Boom Affected Inequality?
    Fast Company | February 25, 2014

    Local Policies That Work for Workers
    New York Times Economix | February 24, 2014

    Activists Push for Raising Minimum Wage in Oakland to $12.25 an Hour
    East Bay Express | February 17, 2014

    The minimum wage fight: From San Francisco to de Blasio’s New York
    Reuters | February 11, 2014

    When Mandates Work
    Center for Economic and Policy Research | February 9, 2014

    New Book Lauds San Francisco’s Progressive Worker Benefits
    Beyond Chron | February 6, 2014

    S.F. praised as model for U.S. on increasing minimum wage
    San Francisco Chronicle | January 28, 2014

    San Francisco’s raise-the-pay experiment
    San Francisco Chronicle | January 28, 2014

    EXCERPT: Mandates Work: Raising Labor Standards at the Local Level
    The Huffington Post Blog | January 23, 2014

    San Francisco’s Higher Minimum Wage Hasn’t Hurt the Economy
    Businessweek | January 22, 2014

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