Study: California’s progressive policies don’t hurt jobs, economy

Berkeley – Exploration from the University of California, Berkeley’s Centre for Labor Exploration and Education measuring the impacts of several progressive California policies enacted over the last six years finds simply no negative effects on career and economic growth.

This is despite conservative critics’ predictions that policies addressing workers’ rights, environmental issues, safety net programs and taxes would hurt jobs and the economy. This analysis is especially relevant today as the U.S. Congress is pursuing policies that go in the contrary direction in each one of these critical plan areas, including major taxes cuts for companies and the wealthy.

The report, “California is Working: The Effects of California’s Public Plan on Jobs and the Economy since 2011,” talks about the impacts of the state’s minimal wage increases, increased access to health insurance, reduced amount of carbon emissions and bigger taxes on the wealthy.

It discovered that the 51 plan methods enacted by the California Legislature around 2011 and 2016 increased wages for low-wage personnel, reduced wage inequality, increased access to health insurance, and place the state on track to meet its 2020 emissions lowering goals.

The report compared California’s economic performance compared to that of the 19 states under full Republican control at the state level, furthermore to by using a statistical method known as synthetic control to simulate a version of California that did not implement these policies.

“My analysis implies that California, using its progressive policies, had top-quality performance compared both to Republican-controlled claims and also to a simulated version of California that did not implement these policies,” said survey author Ian Perry of the UC Berkeley Labor Centre.

In comparison to Republican-controlled states, the article finds that California got:

Greater state Gross Household Product growth (17.2 percent vs. 9.8 percent) from 2011 to 2016

More total career growth (16.9 percent vs. 12.2 percent) from 2011 to 2016

Stronger private employment growth (20.5 percent vs. 15.7 percent) from 2011 to 2016

Higher wage growth for low-wage personnel (ten percent vs. 6 percent at the 10th percentile) from 2014 to 2016

“Using a synthetic control solution to test in the event these results were due to other factors linked to the precise states’ economies produced very similar results,” Perry said.

In addition, the report discovered that:

Wage inequality declined in California, and essentially remained unchanged in Republican states from 2011 to 2016

By 2015 a more substantial talk about of Californians had health insurance than in Republican claims (90.3 percent vs 88.0 percent)

California is on pace to meet its 2020 emissions reductions goals

“The set of policy measures analyzed in this report were backed by labor, environmental and community-based organizations and so are providing jobs, higher wages and increased health for California’s employees, as the state’s economy continues to grow,” said Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC Berkeley Labor Centre.

Relating to Anthony Rendon, loudspeaker of the California Assembly, “This research is a powerful piece of facts to support what I’ve said pertaining to the past year: California’s best weapon against backwards national policies is not only to resist, but to continue to do something affirmatively on the policies which will benefit, and already have benefitted, all the persons of our state.”

He said that claims willing to move forward will pore more than this research and find that California includes a model for a much better future.

“Environmental protection, worker rights, health care and the other policies we pursue aren’t ideals – they are tools for a more robust California,” said Rendon.

The Center for Labor Exploration and Education (Labor Centre) is a public service project of the UC Berkeley Institute for Exploration on Labor and Career. For more about the Labor Center, check out

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