Wage Policy, Income Distribution, and Democratic Theory
This book explores the relationship between wage policy, distribution of income, and ultimately how that distribution impacts on democratic theory. In doing so, it examines the types of policies that are critical to the maintenance of a sustainable democracy. Wage policy, long the domain of economists (particularly neoclassical economists whose focus has been their impact on labour markets and income distribution), has largely been ignored by democratic theorists. Levin-Waldman argues that because wage policy can shape overall income distribution, it has a significant effect on equality levels and is therefore core to democratic theory. Its potential to enhance individual autonomy, which is a necessary condition for democratic participation, is another reason why wage policy should be at the centre of democratic theory.
The Case of the Minimum Wage. Competing Policy Models
Places contemporary minimum wage debates in historical context, stressing the importance of political as opposed to economic variables.
This book traces the historical evolution of minimum-wage policy and explains how models are used (and misused) by different interests to achieve their particular aims. Minimum-wage policy was initially legitimated as a broader labor-market policy aimed at achieving greater productivity and labor-market stability. As organized labor has declined as a political force in the last twenty years, the nature of the debate has metamorphized into a narrowly focused and often highly technical discussion concerned with specific effects of given specific increases in the minimum wage, such as either relieving poverty or the so-called adverse effects on youth unemployment. This change has coincided with the greatest stagnation of the minimum wage.
"The book effectively blends economics, political science, legal studies, history, and policy studies. I found it absorbing." -- Deborah M. Figart, coauthor of Contesting the Market: Pay Equity and the Politics of Economic Restructuring
As of 2014, the minimum wage in Seattle is $15 an hour—double the federal minimum wage.
This unbiased look at the minimum wage debate in America traces the history of minimum wage policy at both the federal and state levels, discusses the controversies swirling around the issue, and examines the veracity of claims made by people on both sides of the debate.