November 09, 2015

UCLA Receives $570,000 Grant

UCLA Anderson to lead study monitoring the effects of a higher minimum wage in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES, (Nov. 5, 2015) The Regents of the University of California has received a $570,000 grant to conduct a study that will evaluate the effects of the higher minimum wage ordinance in the Los Angeles metropolitan region. The research initiative will be led by Edward Leamer, UCLA Anderson School of Management Distinguished Professor, Chauncey J. Medberry Chair in Management and UCLA Anderson Forecast director. Leamer will collaborate with Drs. Till von Wachter and Frederick Zimmerman, faculty members from the Department of Economics and School of Public Health at UCLA .and Jerry Nickelsburg of the UCLA Anderson School.

While increases in minimum wages are occurring in many locations, the Los Angeles experiment could be one of the most informative, since the city has an unusually large share of geographically-concentrated low-wage workers, and the legislated increases in the minimum wage are projected to cover a greater fraction of workers here than in any other jurisdiction, and there are abundant locations near the City where jobs might go. The research will study the impact of the local minimum wage increase on a broad set of effects, including wage and employment levels but also product prices and health outcomes.

“City governments are currently pushing minimum wages up significantly, based on the expectation that every increment to the minimum wage is favorable,” notes Leamer. “But the higher the level of the minimum wage, the greater is the risk of adverse employment effects, and our goal is to track the impacts over time so that the City of Los Angeles can be fully aware of both the favorable and unfavorable effects.”

“As the City of Los Angeles passed its historic minimum wage increase, Dr. Leamer and Dr. Nickelsburg from the UCLA Anderson Forecast worked closely with me to create a simple way of informing the City Council regarding the effects of any increase on both earnings and employment. I am enthusiastic for the research and analysis this grant will provide to inform policy makers of the impacts to the local economy to ensure the increased minimum wage achieves the goal of raising families out of poverty,” says Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield.

Funding for the study was provided by a grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF), which is focused on addressing some of the nation’s most persistent challenges through the use of research and evidence.

“In order to design sound social policies that drive meaningful, lasting improvements in people’s lives, decision makers must have reliable information about various approaches,” explained LJAF Vice President Josh McGee. “This study will allow us to learn as much as possible about how minimum wage increases affect low-income workers and their families.”

The study will be conducted during a three- year period. Findings will be released in the winter of 2018.

About UCLA Anderson Forecast

The UCLA Anderson Forecast is one of the most widely watched and often-cited economic outlooks for California and the United States. The Forecast is unique in its ability to predict transition points in both the state and national economy. Quarterly conferences are attended by business, professional, and government decision-makers from across the U.S. Reports from these conferences are available to members of the media. William Yu joined the UCLA Anderson Forecast in 2011 as an economist. At the Forecast, he focuses on the economic modeling and forecasting of Los Angeles and other regional economies in California. He also conducts research and forecast on Asian emerging economies.

About the Laura and John Arnold Foundation

LJAF is a private foundation that is working to address our nation’s most pressing and persistent challenges using evidence-based, multi-disciplinary approaches. Its strategic investments are currently focused on criminal justice, education, evidence-based policy and innovation, research integrity, and science and technology. LJAF has offices in Houston, New York City, and Washington, D.C.

About UCLA Anderson School of Management

UCLA Anderson School of Management is among the leading business schools in the world, with faculty members globally renowned for their teaching excellence and research in advancing management thinking. Located in Los Angeles, gateway to the growing economies of Latin America and Asia and a city that personifies innovation in a diverse range of endeavors, UCLA Anderson's MBA, Fully Employed MBA, Executive MBA, Global Executive MBA for Asia Pacific, Global Executive MBA for the Americas, Master of Financial Engineering, doctoral and executive education programs embody the school's Think in the Next ethos. Annually, some 1,800 students are trained to be global leaders seeking the business models and community solutions of tomorrow.

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Contact Information

UCLA Anderson Office of Media Relations, (310) 206-7707,

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