Anti-Discrimination vs.Anti-Poverty: An Analysis of Pay Equity and Living Wage Reforms

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Arielle Kuperberg, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Welfare reform focuses attention on the potential of pay equity and living wage strategies to move women out of the ranks of the working poor. In this study, we use data from a large municipality in the Northeast to simulate implementation of the two policies and compare their relative effectiveness in raising the earnings of female- and minority- dominated jobs, narrowing gender- and race-based earnings differentials, and lifting workers out of poverty. Results show that pay equity raises salaries across-the-board, but especially among low-skilled and minority- dominated jobs, and closes the wage gap. Both pay equity and living wage dramatically reduce the incidence of poverty; living wage, however, leaves virtually untouched the type of discrimination targeted by pay equity and has little impact on the wage gap. The implications of these results for addressing the needs of women transitioning off public assistance and wage justice are discussed. We conclude that both policies should be an integral part of welfare reform efforts, as well as key planks in an overall wage justice strategy.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2005
Job segregation, wage gap, race discrimination, sex discrimination, low-wage jobs, pay equity, comparable worth, living wages, poverty, welfare reform

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