The Political Economy of a Living Wage

Progressives, the New Deal, and Social Justice

  • Donald Stabile

Part of the Palgrave Studies in American Economic History book series (AEH)

About this book


This book tells the story behind President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s use of the phrase "living wage" in a variety of speeches, letters, and statements, and examines the degree to which programs of the New Deal reflected the ideas of a living wage movement that existed in the US for almost three decades before Roosevelt was elected president. Far from being a side issue, the previously unexplored living wage debate sheds light on the New Deal philosophy of social justice by identifying the value judgments behind its policies. Moving chronologically through history, this book's highlights include the revelation of a living wage agenda under the War Industry Board (WIB)'s National War Labor Board (NWLB) during World War I, the unearthing of long-forgotten literature from the 1920s and 30s that formed the foundation of Roosevelt's statements on a living wage, and the examination of contemporary studies that used a simple living wage formula combining collective bargaining, social insurance, and minimum wage as a standard for social justice used to measure the impact of New Deal polices.


National Industrial Recovery Act Franklin Delano Roosevelt National War Labor Board (NWLB) War Industry Board (WIB) social security Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Social Security Administration (SSA) minimum wage

Authors and affiliations

  • Donald Stabile
    • 1
  1. 1.St. Mary’s College of MarylandSt. Mary’s CityUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and the Author(s) 2016
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Economics and Finance
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-32472-2
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-32473-9
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
Industry Sectors
Finance, Business & Banking