Moral Judgment and Living Wage

Moral Judgment and Living Wage

Week 8 Discussion 1

“Evaluating Policy Performance” Please respond to the following:

  • Compare and contrast methods of evaluation and prescription in terms of time and the types of claims produced by each. Provide examples to support your response.

Week 8 Discussion 2

“Moral Judgment and Living Wage” Please respond to the following:

  • From the e-Activity, select two different states and locations (city or county) to compare the living wage estimates and poverty wage for a family with one adult and one child designated for the two states and selected locations. Make sure to find two states that have more than $2.00 difference in living wage estimates. Suggest at least two reasons for the differences.
  • From the case study, Case 7.1., explain at least two reasons many consider the adoption of a living wage a moral and ethical issue. Discuss the implications that morality and ethics have to analyzing and developing public policy.


  • Go to the Living Wage Calculator Website, located at, and select two different states and locations to compare their living wage estimates and poverty wage levels. Be prepared to discuss.


The living wage movement is considered by many to be the most important grassroots political mobilization since the U.S. civil rights movement. Issues surrounding the adoption of a living wage are economic as well as moral and ethical. Economists are divided on the effects of the living wage on poverty, inequality, and employment; the majority of religious and community leaders have supported the living wage for more than 100 years. The following calculations have been extracted from a website ( developed by Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The living wage shown is the hourly rate in 2011 that a full-time employed person (2,080 hours per year) in New York City (Queens County) must earn to support families of different sizes. In New York City, the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour is the same for all persons, regardless of the number of dependents. Although the poverty rate is typically quoted as gross annual income, for purposes of comparison it has been converted into an hourly wage. Wages that are less than the living wage are italicized. Municipalities such as San Francisco, Detroit, and Chicago set the minimum wage higher than the federally mandated 2011 minimum wage of $7.25. The minimum living wage for an adult with one child and larger families also differs. In Pittsburgh, the living wage for an adult with one child is $34,244 per year, whereas in Los Angeles it is $45,235.

Typical Expenses These figures were used to calculate the 2011 living wage in New York City. Numbers vary by family size. For typical expenses, living wages, and salaries for different occupations across the United States, see www.livingwage.geog.psu.ed. ■