Exploring Geographic Factors of Seattle’s Minimum Wage Law

August 18, 2021

The Data Science for Social Good Program at the University of Washington’s eScience Institute brings together students, stakeholders, and data and domain researchers to work on focused, collaborative projects for societal benefit. Berkeley Computational Social Science Fellow Mahader Tamene recently worked with an interdisciplinary team to look at the impacts of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage in context of the city’s coinciding tech boom and consequent gentrification, and this blog post summarizes the team's findings:

Data Science for Social Good: Exploring Geographic Factors of Seattle’s Minimum Wage Law 
August 18, 2021  |   Emily Keller   |   eScience Institute Blog

The team members began their work by reviewing literature and engaging with stakeholders to incorporate grounded perspectives and the regional context into their project. They met with a senior research manager at the Washington State Department of Social & Health Services (DSHS) who managed the collection of agency data used in the project, and a demographer at the City of Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development. They also plan to meet with faculty from the Minimum Wage Study and participants from the West Coast Poverty Center’s Roundtable on Housing and Poverty. In these meetings, the team is exploring topics such as the nuances of using administrative data for research, the development of residential displacement measures, and the intersecting issues of wages, gentrification, housing costs and commuting trends.

According to Tamene, a PhD student in the Division of Epidemiology in UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, “Stakeholder meetings have been instrumental in building an understanding of the context of this work, particularly around the nuances of our data, the considerations of privacy and confidentiality, and the importance of honoring and uplifting community as expert. All of our conversations have informed how we move forward and really fostered deeper introspection and self-reflection in the decisions we make about our project.”

Featured Fellows

Mahader Tamene

Epidemiology, Public Health, UC Berkeley
Computational Social Science Fellow