Raise Chicago: Improving Chicago’s Economy with a Higher Minimum Wage

A recently released report by Joseph de la Torre Dwyer, GII Economics, Gender, and Labor Specialist, in conjunction with the Center for Popular Democracy and Raise Chicago tackles America’s low-wage problem head on and considers the economic effects of implementing a minimum wage increase supported by 86% of Chicago voters.

This report maps and models the geographically diverse economic effects of a targeted $15 minimum wage for Chicago workers at firms with $50 million or more in annual receipts (and their subsidiaries and franchisees) and finds that 1 out of 5 Chicago workers (229,000 employees) would receive a needed raise of approximately 25% from $12.50/hour to $15.62/hour. This disproportionately impacts people of color and their neighborhoods who will see large positive benefits as will many other workers in retail, leisure and hospitality, and food services. In addition, this minimum wage would spur new local economic activity and jobs, increase tax revenues, lower job turnover, and we expect that consumers might ultimately see negligible price increases of 2%.

All in all, for relatively little, the people of Chicago stand to gain quite a lot.