Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type

Open Access Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Management


Management and Marketing


Maureen Scully


Jeffrey Keisler

Subject Categories

Labor Economics | Labor Relations


This thesis explores the living wage, and in particular the varied arguments that support the adoption and spread of the living wage. A “living wage” is a decent wage. “It affords the earner and her or his family the most basic costs of living without need for government support or poverty programs,” and takes into account a, “complete consideration of the cost of living.” The topic is timely, as the economy in the United States remains in decline, and now more than ever the American workforce is struggling to stay afloat, along with businesses across the country.

I want to explore the best arguments available for why the living wage is beneficial to businesses, in order to understand what factors a business leader might consider regarding whether or not to pay a living wage. Many of the easy and obvious arguments seem to go against the living wage: it is expensive, it will make a business uncompetitive, and it might drive up unemployment. Therefore, the arguments for why a living wage is good for business need to be strongly and clearly put. My thesis investigates the most prominent of these strong arguments for the living wage, including where they can be widely and publicly found, what arguments and topics they cover, and who advances these arguments.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.