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May 15 , 2009

Minimum Wage Policy in Great Britain and the United States


In a thorough and well-documented study of the American and British experience with minimum wage legislation, Prof. Jerold Waltman describes and analyzes the operation of current minimum wage policies and politics in both countries. Where are we and how did we get here? For Britain, he chronicles the events leading up to the enactment of the National Minimum Wage, and then discusses its subsequent evolution. Turning to the United States, he covers the almost moribund but still important federal minimum wage, and then traces developments on the state and local front.

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After that, he takes up the accomplishments of the living wage movement in each nation. He then assesses whether or not contemporary advocates for heightened minimum wages are laying the groundwork for a rejuvenated welfare state. Are they fashioning a public philosophy that will make the minimum wage once again a central feature of the welfare state, or are they heading down other paths?

Providing a context within which to evaluate opposing policy proposals, he also discusses the general aspects of minimum wage policy and examines in detail the history of minimum wages in the two countries.

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