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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Washington: Seattle’s Minimum Wage Hikes Did Not Boost Supermarket Prices

Seattle’s minimum wage increases did not boost supermarket prices in the city in the two years after the policy began, according to a study led by the University of Washington School of Public Health. Mr. James Buszkiewicz, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Epidemiology, was the lead author.

In the paper, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, researchers examined the effect of Seattle’s minimum wage ordinance on local area supermarket food prices over time and as wages phased in to $15 per hour.

Overall, the authors found no significant evidence of price increases associated with the minimum wage ordinance. The paper also sought to evaluate the potential for differential price changes that might be related to diet quality, including analyses by food group, level of food processing and nutrient quality. The authors found no evidence of significant price increases in any of the diet quality measures examined that could be attributed to the minimum wage ordinance.

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