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Will be reprinted as a chapter in When Mandates Work: Improving Living Conditions while Maintaining Jobs edited by Ken Jacobs and Michael Reich, University of California Press, 2013.

Article first published online: 23 DEC 2004

Initially published in Industrial Relations, January 2005, p139-p163. The definitive version is available at

© 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

DOI: 10.1111/j.0019-8676.2004.00376.x


This study records the impact on workforce retention of the nearly doubling of wages for homecare workers in San Francisco County over a 52-month period. Using descriptive statistics and logistic regression analysis I find that the annual retention rate of new providers rose from 39 percent to 74 percent following significant wage and benefit increases and that a $1 increase in the wage rate from $8 an hour – the national average wage for homecare – would increase retention by 17 percentage points. I also show that adding health insurance increases the retention rate by 21 percentage points.




The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.