March 22, 2011, John Schmitt and David Rosnick

This report analyzes the wage and employment effects of the first three city-specific minimum wages in the United States –San Francisco (2004), Santa Fe (2004), and Washington, DC (1993). We use data from a virtual census of employment in each of the three cities, surrounding suburbs, and nearby metropolitan areas, to estimate the impact of minimum-wage laws on wages and employment in fast food restaurants, food services, retail trade, and other low-wage and small establishments.

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