Project Overview

In the absence of federal action to raise the minimum wage, dozens of cities and states have approved minimum wage ordinances to help raise the wages and living standards for their lowest-paid residents and reduce income inequality. Early evidence suggests city-level minimum wage laws haven’t led to higher overall unemployment, yet how these laws affect the employment and earnings of different groups of workers is far from understood.

Younger and less experienced are one group with unique labor market vulnerabilities. Research shows early labor market experiences have far-reaching implications for workers’ long-term economic mobility. These early experiences are shaped by policies, including minimum wage laws. This project seeks to understand how Seattle’s 2014 minimum wage ordinance affected young workers across several indicators, including starting wages, employment stability, and earnings. The project team will disaggregate their findings by industry and firm size as well as by worker demographics. The project will employ a unique and powerful administrative dataset built specifically to study impacts of Seattle’s minimum wage law. The team will share their findings through academic papers, policy briefs, and public engagements.