Date of Award:

12-2019

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Political Science

Advisor/Chair:

Peter McNamara

Co-Advisor/Chair:

Adele Cutler

Third Advisor:

Josh Ryan

Abstract

The city of Seattle, Washington made headlines in 2014 when its city council enacted the highest minimum wage in the history of the United States. The ruling appeared to begin a trend as similar policies began diffusing in cities across the country. In reality, however, municipal minimum wage ordinances have existed since the early 1990’s. Yet, despite over two decade’s worth of data on the subject, little research has been conducted to understand the characteristics that influence cities to enact minimum wages in the first place. This study contributes to our understanding of the predictors of minimum wage ordinances by retesting prior variables of significance over a more recent time period, while also introducing a new set of variables to the literature. I find that cities with an increased percentage of residents with bachelor’s degrees face an increased likelihood for future policy adoption. Additionally, I find that some age demographics may be significant predictors in future studies of minimum wage.

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