Panel Paper: Immediate Impacts of the City of Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance

Thursday, November 3, 2016 : 8:55 AM
Dupont (Washington Hilton)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Mark Long, Robert D Plotnick, Ekaterina Roshchina, Jacob Vigdor and Hilary Wething, University of Washington

On April 1, 2014, the City of Seattle raised its minimum wage to $11 from $9.47, and over the next several years it will increase to $15 per hour.  This action by the City was followed by similar policy changes in several large cities and states during the past two years.  This paper presents a wide­ ranging portrait of the anticipated and realized effects of this increase, from the perspective of both employers and workers.   Survey and interview data will highlight expected employer adaptations to higher wage costs, and the expectations and worries of low-wage householders.  Administrative labor market data, based on the State of Washington’s Unemployment Insurance records, will show both the net short-term impact on measures of employment, earnings, and hours worked across all low-wage workers, as well as the distribution of gains and losses across workers or industries.   These distributional considerations may in fact be more consequential than average treatment effects to evaluation of the minimum wage as a tool for improving quality of life for less-skilled workers.