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Abstract

This article compares violations of minimum wage laws and other labour standards in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. Los Angeles has the highest violation rates, due to such factors as its industrial composition and disproportionately large number of small establishments, as well as its vast unauthorised immigrant population. In addition, Los Angeles’ higher rates reflect the stricter legal standards in California. We conclude that, although stronger workplace laws and regulations are crucial, in the absence of effective enforcement, they may fail to prevent workplace violations.