Living Wages Around the World


Living Wages Around the World

Manual for Measurement

9781786431455 Edward Elgar Publishing
Richard Anker, Senior Research Fellow, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, formerly with the International Labour Organization and Martha Anker, Independent Researcher, formerly of the World Health Organization and the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, US
Publication Date: 2017 ISBN: 978 1 78643 145 5 Extent: 392 pp
This is an open access title available under the terms of a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 License. It is free to read, download and share on

This manual describes a new methodology to measure a decent but basic standard of living in different countries and how much workers need to earn to afford this, making it possible for researchers to estimate comparable living wages around the world and determine gaps between living wages and prevailing wages, even in countries with limited secondary data.

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Wages are the main determinant of living standards for the vast majority of workers and families around the world. This manual describes a new methodology to measure what constitutes a decent but basic standard of living and how much workers need to earn to afford this, making it possible for researchers to estimate comparable living wages around the world and determine gaps between living wages and prevailing wages.

The new, practical methodology in this manual draws on 10 years of research and experience to clearly explain each step in the estimation process, based on standards for a low-cost nutritious diet, healthy housing, and all other needs including decent health care and children’s education. It stresses transparency and the need for time- and place-specific living wage estimates, and is replete with examples from country studies that have put it to the test. The authors describe how living wages can be estimated in locations and countries where secondary data are limited and make new, practical recommendations on how to value in kind benefits as partial payment of a living wage.

An essential tool for global sustainability standards, researchers, NGOs, governments and international organizations interested in wages, estimating realistic poverty lines, formulating policies for reducing poverty and income inequality, and improving livelihoods and international trade agreements. This manual is also an excellent tool for companies, global sustainability standards, trade unions, NGOs, and public–private partnerships, and others concerned with corporate social responsibility and human resources.
Critical Acclaim
‘The manual could serve as the basis for an applied masters course in Development Economics. It belongs on the shelf of every development practitioner, where it would sit confidently alongside classics like Gittinger’s (1982) Economic Analysis of Agricultural Projects.’
– African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics

‘Anker and Anker have delivered a substantial, practically-minded resource for helping to establish living wage standards in nations and regions across the world, and which should be of vital interest to all those interested and engaged in this battle as it continues to advance.’
– British Journal of Industrial Relalions

‘This book is a substantial achievement, and evidence of a research project with the potential to make a real difference to the world.’
– Citizen’s Income Newsletter

‘Overall, Living Wages around the World: Manual for Measurement looks set to become a well-thumbed reference guide for researchers, governments/policy analysts, international organisations, NGOs and community groups interested in a deeper understanding of living wage standards and policies. This book is likely to stoke a developing and important dialogue over what constitutes equitable, meaningful and relevant pay around the globe.’
– Labour & Industry
Contents: 1. Introduction 2. Overview of the Anker Living Wage Methodology PART I COST OF A BASIC BUT DECENT LIFE FOR WORKER AND FAMILY 3. Model Diet for a Living Wage 4. Local Food Prices 5. Local Housing Standard for a Living Wage 6 Local Cost of Decent Housing for a Living Wage 7. Non-Food and Non-Housing Costs 8. Post Checks of Non-food Non-housing Costs: Introduction 9. Health Care Cost Rapid Assessment Post Check 10. Education Cost Rapid Assessment Post Check 11. Provision for Unexpected Events and Sustainability 12. Family Size for a Living Wage PART II ESTIMATING A LIVING WAGE 13. Number of Workers per Family 14. Take Home Pay Required and Taking Statutory Deductions into Account PART III PREVAILING WAGES AND GAPS TO A LIVING WAGE 15. Measuring Prevailing Wages to Compare to a Living Wage 16. In Kind Benefits as Partial Payment of a Living Wage 17. Living Wage in Context: Wage Ladder and Wage Trends PART IV: TYPICAL LIVING WAGE REPORT AND UPDATING A LIVING WAGE ESTIMATE 18. Suggested Outline of a Living Wage Report 19. Summary Tables to Include in a Living Wage Report 20. Updating a Living Wage Estimate References Index

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