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Initial Statement by Santa Monica Coalition to Protect the Living Wage on Sander Study
The study issued Tuesday by Professor Rick Sander on Santa Monica's living wage law is an alarming example of partisan research.
Sander's bias on this issue is indisputable. Two years ago, he was hired by the luxury hotel industry of Santa Monica to write a study of the proposed living wage ordinance. He was paid $55,000 for his services. His current study was partially funded by the Employment Policies Institute. This conservative Washington, D.C. think tank, which is closely tied to the restaurant industry, is the leading institutional opponent of living wage and minimum wage legislation.
It must also be noted that Sander, whose primary field is law, has never published an article in a major peer-reviewed economics journal. Moreover, he has not made his previous study -- nor this one -- available for peer review.
Sander's major findings are contradicted by the independent city-commissioned study conducted by University of Massachusetts Amherst Professor Robert Pollin and his colleague Professor Mark Brenner. That study concluded that the living wage ordinance would offer significant benefit to working families, and that affected businesses could afford to pay the living wage.
Pollin and Brenner's major findings include the following:
The results of the study were affirmed in a peer review by Harvard University Professor Richard Freeman, one of the top labor economists in the world.
Pollin and Brenner have just issued an updated analysis, which affirms their findings.
This week, 120 economists from major universities in the United States as well as Europe, Canada and Mexico endorsed Measure JJ, the Santa Monica living wage ballot referendum. ("Economists Endorse Living Wage Law," Oct. 8)
The signatories included many prominent economists, including University
of Texas at Austin Professor James K. Galbraith; Cornell University
Professor Lourdes Beneria; Notre Dame Professor Teresa Ghilarducci;
Boston College Professor Juliet Schor; UC Berkeley Professor Michael
Reich; UC Riverside Professor Keith Griffin; Washington University at
St. Louis Professor Steven Fazzari; University of Michigan Professor
Thomas Weisskopf; University of California Santa Cruz Professor Manuel
Pastor; and Economic Policy Institute President Lawrence Mishel.
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