Tax policy debates—and reforms—depend heavily on estimates of how alternative tax rules would affect behavior. Yet there is considerable controversy about the key empirical links among tax rates, household decisions, and revenue collections.
The nine papers in this volume exploit the substantial variation in U.S. tax policy during the last two decades to investigate how taxes affect a range of household behavior, including labor-force participation, saving behavior, choice of health insurance plan, choice of child care arrangements, portfolio choice, and tax evasion. They also present new analytical results on the effects of different types of tax policy. All of this research relies on household-level data—drawn either from public-use tax return files or from large household-level surveys—to explore various aspects of the relationship between taxes and household behavior.
As debates about the effects of proposed tax reforms continue in the 1990s, this volume will be of interest to policy makers and scholars in the field of public finance.
Essential reading for those seeking solutions to the new jobless economy.
This widely reviewed and highly successful book examines the job market of tomorrow. Aronowitz and DiFazio take you behind the headlines to challenge the idea that a high-tech economy will provide high-paying jobs for all who want them. Instead, they demonstrate that we're more likely to see continued layoffs and job displacement.
"Imagine a Brave New Work World in which unemployment is so rampant that more than a third of the adult population can't find a job and millions of others have stopped looking. Another third works only part-time, or at temporary or dead-end jobs. Meanwhile, the number of those still holding full-time positions steadily diminishes, their wages depressed because of the premium placed simply on having a job. . . . 'People need to start thinking about a jobless future,' insist [Aronowitz and DeFazio] . . . . Tha authors attribute rising unemployment to economic stagnation coupled with revolutionary technological change that has fostered workplace trends such as downsizing, re-engineering, with part-time jobs, temporary jobs and job-sharing replacing full-time work." --Washington Post
"Looks beyond the shadow play of welfare politics to the real source of that anxiety-the modern workplace. . . . Aronowitz and DiFazio are quite right to look beyond the dismal realities of today's workplace and envision a society that uses the fruits of technology to abolish-or at least diminish-what the left used to call wage slavery." --The Nation
"Replete with such futuristic concepts as cybernetics, technoculture, de-skilling, and informatics, this book is as timely as today's headlines announcing the latest round of layoffs and down-sizing. . . an important and thought-provoking work." --Library Journal
Stanley Aronowitz is professor of sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. William DiFazio is professor of sociology at St. John's University
Labor Statistics Measurement Issues
Edited by John Haltiwanger, Marilyn E. Manser, and Robert H. Topel University of Chicago Press, 1998 Library of Congress HC106.3.C714 vol. 60 | Dewey Decimal 330
Rapidly changing technology, the globalization of markets, and the declining role of unions are just some of the factors that have led to dramatic changes in working conditions in the United States. Little attention has been paid to the difficult measurement problems underlying analysis of the labor market. Labor Statistics Measurement Issues helps to fill this gap by exploring key theoretical and practical issues in the measurement of employment, wages, and workplace practices.
Some of the chapters in this volume explore the conceptual issues of what is needed, what is known, or what can be learned from existing data, and what needs have not been met by available data sources. Others make innovative uses of existing data to analyze these topics. Also included are papers examining how answers to important questions are affected by alternative measures used and how these can be reconciled. This important and useful book will find a large audience among labor economists and consumers of labor statistics.
Koreans constituted the largest colonial labor force in imperial Japan during the 1920s and 1930s. Caught between the Scylla of agricultural destitution in Korea and the Charybdis of industrial depression in Japan, migrant Korean peasants arrived on Japanese soil amid extreme instability in the labor and housing markets. In The Proletarian Gamble, Ken C. Kawashima maintains that contingent labor is a defining characteristic of capitalist commodity economies. He scrutinizes how the labor power of Korean workers in Japan was commodified, and how these workers both fought against the racist and contingent conditions of exchange and combated institutionalized racism.
Kawashima draws on previously unseen archival materials from interwar Japan as he describes how Korean migrants struggled against various recruitment practices, unfair and discriminatory wages, sudden firings, racist housing practices, and excessive bureaucratic red tape. Demonstrating that there was no single Korean “minority,” he reveals how Koreans exploited fellow Koreans and how the stratification of their communities worked to the advantage of state and capital. However, Kawashima also describes how, when migrant workers did organize—as when they became involved in Rōsō (the largest Korean communist labor union in Japan) and in Zenkyō (the Japanese communist labor union)—their diverse struggles were united toward a common goal. In The Proletarian Gamble, his analysis of the Korean migrant workers' experiences opens into a much broader rethinking of the fundamental nature of capitalist commodity economies and the analytical categories of the proletariat, surplus populations, commodification, and state power.
Many countries have social security systems that are currently financially unsustainable. Economists and policy makers have long studied this problem and identified two key causes. First, as declining birth rates raise the share of older persons in the population, the ratio of retirees to benefits-paying employees increases. Second, as falling mortality rates increase lifespans, retirees receive benefits for longer than in the past. Further exacerbating the situation, the provisions of social security programs often provide strong incentives to leave the labor force.
Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World offers comparative analysis from twelve countries and examines the issue of age in the labor force. A notable group of contributors analyzes the relationship between incentives to retire and the proportion of older persons in the workforce, the effects that reforming social security would have on the employment rates of older workers, and how extending labor force participation will affect program costs. Dispelling the myth that employing older workers takes jobs away from the young, this timely volume challenges a raft of existing assumptions about the relationship between old and young people in the workforce.
Workers in India program software applications, transcribe medical dictation online, chase credit card debtors, and sell mobile phones, diet pills, and mortgages for companies based in other countries around the world. While their skills and labor migrate abroad, these workers remain Indian citizens, living and working in India. A. Aneesh calls this phenomenon “virtual migration,” and in this groundbreaking study he examines the emerging “transnational virtual space” where labor and vast quantities of code and data cross national boundaries, but the workers themselves do not. Through an analysis of the work of computer programmers in India working for the American software industry, Aneesh argues that the programming code connecting globally dispersed workers through data servers and computer screens is the key organizing structure behind the growing phenomenon of virtual migration. This “rule of code,” he contends, is a crucial and underexplored aspect of globalization.
Aneesh draws on the sociology of science, social theory, and research on migration to illuminate the practical and theoretical ramifications of virtual migration. He combines these insights with his extensive ethnographic research in offices in three locations in India—in Delhi, Gurgaon, and Noida—and one in New Jersey. Aneesh contrasts virtual migration with “body shopping,” the more familiar practice of physically bringing programmers from other countries to work on site, in this case, bringing them from India to New Jersey. A significant contribution to the social theory of globalization, Virtual Migration maps the expanding transnational space where globalization is enacted via computer programming code.
Research by economists and economic historians has greatly expanded our knowledge of labor markets and real wages in the United States since the Civil War, but the period from 1820 to 1860 has been far less studied. Robert Margo fills this gap by collecting and analyzing the payroll records of civilians hired by the United States Army and the 1850 and 1860 manuscript federal Censuses of Social Statistics. New wage series are constructed for three occupational groups—common laborers, artisans, and white-collar workers—in each of the four major census regions—Northeast, Midwest, South Atlantic, and South Central—over the period 1820 to 1860, and also for California between 1847 and 1860. Margo uses these data, along with previously collected evidence on prices, to explore a variety of issues central to antebellum economic development.
This volume makes a significant contribution to economic history by presenting a vast amount of previously unexamined data to advance the understanding of the history of wages and labor markets in the antebellum economy.
A deep question in economics is why wages and salaries don't fall during recessions. This is not true of other prices, which adjust relatively quickly to reflect changes in demand and supply. Although economists have posited many theories to account for wage rigidity, none is satisfactory. Eschewing "top-down" theorizing, Truman Bewley explored the puzzle by interviewing--during the recession of the early 1990s--over three hundred business executives and labor leaders as well as professional recruiters and advisors to the unemployed. By taking this approach, gaining the confidence of his interlocutors and asking them detailed questions in a nonstructured way, he was able to uncover empirically the circumstances that give rise to wage rigidity. He found that the executives were averse to cutting wages of either current employees or new hires, even during the economic downturn when demand for their products fell sharply. They believed that cutting wages would hurt morale, which they felt was critical in gaining the cooperation of their employees and in convincing them to internalize the managers' objectives for the company. Bewley's findings contradict most theories of wage rigidity and provide fascinating insights into the problems businesses face that prevent labor markets from clearing.
Table of Contents:
1. Introduction 2. Methods 3. Time and Location 4. Morale 5. Company Risk Aversion 6. Internal Pay Structure 7. External Pay Structure 8. The Shirking Theory 9. The Pay of New Hires in the Primary Sector 10. Raises 11. Resistance to Pay Reduction 12. Experiences with Pay Reduction 13. Layoffs 14. Severance Benefits 15. Hiring 16. Voluntary Turnover 17. The Secondary Sector 18. The Unemployed 19. Information, Wage Rigidity, and Labor Negotiations 20. Existing Theories 21. Remarks on Theory 22. Whereto from Here?
Notes References Index
Reviews of this book: In Why Wages Don't Fall During A Recession, [Truman Bewley] tackles one of the oldest, and most controversial, puzzles in economics: why nominal wages rarely fall (and real wages do not fall enough) when unemployment is high. But he does so in a novel way, through interviews with over 300 businessmen, union leaders, job recruiters and unemployment counsellors in the north-eastern United States during the early 1990s recession...Mr. Bewley concludes that employers resist pay cuts largely because the savings from lower wages are usually outweighed by the cost of denting workers' morale: pay cuts hit workers' standard of living and lower their self-esteem. Falling morale raises staff turnover and reduces productivity...Mr. Bewley's theory has some interesting implications...[and] has a ring of truth to it. --The Economist
Reviews of this book: This contribution to the growing literature on behavioral macroeconomics threatens to disturb the tranquil state of macroeconomic theory that has prevailed in recent years...Bewley's argument will be hard for conventional macroeconomists to ignore, partly because of the extraordinary thoroughness and honesty with which he evidently conducted his investigation, and the sheer volume of evidence he provides...Although Bewley's work will not settle the substantive debates related to wage rigidity, it is likely to have a profound influence on the way macroeconomists construct models. In particular, the concepts of morale, fairness, and money illusion are almost certain to play a big role in macroeconomic theory. His demonstration that there exist in reality simple, robust behavioral patters that cannot plausibly be founded on traditional maximizing behabior also raises the prospect of a more empirically oriented, more behavioral macroeconomics in the future. --Peter Howitt, journal of Economic Literature
Reviews of this book: I think any scholar interested in labour markets and wage determination should read this well-written, lively, and highly stimulating book...[It] provides a fresh view and a lot of complementary background knowledge about how experienced people in the field see the employment relationship and what is actually crucial. Knowledge of this sort is all too rare in economics, and Truman Bewley's truly impressive study can serve as a role model for future investigations. --Simon G'chter, Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics
To call this book a breath of fresh air is an understatement. The direct insights are fascinating, and Truman Bewley's use of them is sharp and insightful. Labor economists and macroeconomists have a lot to think about. --Robert M. Solow, Nobel Laureate, Institute Professor of Economics, Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Truman Bewley set out to conduct a handful of interviews with business executives to gain some theoretical inspiration, and his project blossomed into over 300 interviews with business people, labor leaders and consultants. He is truly the accidental interviewer of economics. Time and again, he found that workers behave like people, not atomistic, selfish economic agents. His insights will engage and enrage economic theorists and empiricists for years to come. --Alan Krueger, Bendheim Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Princeton University