What good is affordable housing if the people who build aren’t paid decently?

July 27, 2016
Kevin Duncan, Pueblo, Colo.
The writer is a professor of economics at Colorado State University-Pueblo.

To the editor: Like climate change, construction prevailing wage standards have been studied and an academic consensus exists, but myths persist. (“Affordable housing at an impasse,” editorial, July 22)

Peer-reviewed economists have found that prevailing wages produce more local, middle-class job opportunities and less spending on fuels, materials and public assistance for blue-collar construction workers. They do not significantly raise total development budgets.

In California, labor makes up just 20% of total construction project costs. Any savings from exploitative working conditions are offset by lower productivity on the job site.

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