In The Ashio Riot of 1907, Nimura Kazuo explains why the workers at the Ashio copper mine—Japan’s largest mining concern and one of the largest such operations in the world—joined together for three days of rioting against the Furukawa Company in February 1907. Exploring an event in labor history unprecedented in the Japan of that time, Nimura uses this riot as a launching point to analyze the social, economic, and political structure of early industrial Japan. As such, The Ashio Riot of 1907 functions as a powerful critique of Japanese scholarly approaches to labor economics and social history. Arguing against the spontaneous resistance theory that has long dominated Japanese social history accounts, Nimura traces the laborers’ unrest prior to the riots as well as the development of the event itself. Drawing from such varied sources as governmental records, media reports, and secret legal documents relating to the riot, Nimura discusses the active role of the metal mining workers’ trade organization and the stance taken by mine labor bosses. He examines how technological development transformed labor-management relations and details the common characteristics of the laborers who were involved in the riot movement. In the course of this historical analysis, Nimura takes on some of the most influential critical perspectives on Japanese social and labor history. This translation of Nimura’s prize-winning study—originally published in Japan—contains a preface by Andrew Gordon and an introduction and prologue written especially for this edition.
The gender wage gap is one of the most persistent problems of labor markets and women’s lives.
Most approaches to explaining the gap focus on adult employment despite the fact that many Americans begin working well before their education is completed. In her critical and compelling new book, The Cost of Being a Girl, Yasemin Besen-Cassino examines the origins of the gender wage gap by looking at the teenage labor force, where comparisons between boys and girls ought to show no difference, but do.
Besen-Cassino’s findings are disturbing. Because of discrimination in the market, most teenage girls who start part-time work as babysitters and in other freelance jobs fail to make the same wages as teenage boys who move into employee-type jobs. The “cost” of being a girl is also psychological; when teenage girls work retail jobs in the apparel industry, they have lower wages and body image issues in the long run.
Through in-depth interviews and surveys with workers and employees, The Cost of Being a Girl puts this alarming social problem—which extends to race and class inequality—in to bold relief. Besen-Cassino emphasizes that early inequalities in the workplace ultimately translate into greater inequalities in the overall labor force.
The boom of the U.S. economy in the late 1990s suggests that Americans are better off than they were a decade ago, but this is not true across the board and the reason, as James Galbraith explains, is wage inequality. He contends that inequality is not the result of impersonal market forces but of specific government decisions and the poor economic performance they created. Featuring a new afterword on wage shifts since 1994, Created Unequal is a rousing book that reminds us we can reclaim our country through economic understanding, commonsense policy, and political action.
"Created Unequal is not light reading, but Galbraith's elegant arguments, passionate exposition, and profound conclusions make it worth the trouble. . . . [Galbraith] remind[s] us that the economy is and ought to be run by humans, not humans by the economy."—Joanna Ciulla, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Created Unequal is a lucid and wise explanation of why America seems to be prospering while most Americans aren't. James Galbraith takes steady aim at a variety of widely accepted economic myths and hits most of them dead center. This book will tell you a lot about the way your economic world really works."—Jeff Faux, President of the Economic Policy Institute
"[A] brilliant and iconoclastic examination of the major social trend of our time."—Michael Lind, Washington Monthly
During the past two decades, wages of skilled workers in the United States rose while those of unskilled workers fell; less-educated young men in particular have suffered unprecedented losses in real earnings. These twelve original essays explore whether this trend is unique to the United States or is part of a general growth in inequality in advanced countries.
Focusing on labor market institutions and the supply and demand forces that affect wages, the papers compare patterns of earnings inequality and pay differentials in the United States, Australia, Korea, Japan, Western Europe, and the changing economies of Eastern Europe. Cross-country studies examine issues such as managerial compensation, gender differences in earnings, and the relationship of pay to regional unemployment.
From this rich store of data, the contributors attribute changes in relative wages and unemployment among countries both to differences in labor market institutions and training and education systems, and to long-term shifts in supply and demand for skilled workers. These shifts are driven in part by skill-biased technological change and the growing internationalization of advanced industrial economies.
For nearly two decades the wage gap between men and women has remained virtually unchanged. Women continue to earn, on average, 80 cents for every dollar that men earn. Yet despite persistent discrimination in wages, studies are also beginning to show that a growing number of women are out-earning their husbands. Nationwide, nearly one-third of working women are the chief breadwinners in their families. The trend is particularly pronounced among the demographic of highly educated women. Does this increase in earnings, however, equate to a shift in power dynamics between husbands and wives?
In Earning More and Getting Less, sociologist Veronica Jaris Tichenor shows how, historically, men have derived a great deal of power over financial and household decisions by bringing home all (or most) of the family's income. Yet, financial superiority has not been a similar source of power for women. Tichenor demonstrates how wives, instead of using their substantial incomes to negotiate more egalitarian relationships, enable their husbands to perpetuate male dominance within the family.
Weaving personal accounts, in-depth interviews, and compelling narrative, this important study reveals disturbing evidence that the conventional power relations defined by gender are powerful enough to undermine hierarchies defined by money. Earning More and Getting Less is essential reading in sociology, psychology, and family and gender studies.
Across the United States tens of millions of people are working forty or more hours a week...and living in poverty. This is surprising in a country where politicians promise that anyone who does their share, and works hard, will get ahead. In Ending Poverty As We Know It, William Quigley argues that it is time to make good on that promise by adding to the Constitution language that insures those who want to work can do so—and at a wage that enables them to afford reasonable shelter, clothing, and food.
Small-scale fishing, a house-hold based enterprise in Puerto Rico, rarely provides sufficient income for a family, but it anchors their culture and sense of themselves within that culture. Even when family members must engage in wage work to supplement house-hold income, they think of themselves as fishers. Liche typifies these wage workers: "When he was quite young, he left the island to struggle in other lands, to work, to raise a family, to send home the money he earned. Ten, twenty, thirty years passed...during which he did not once fish or even see the ocean. But in a boat-building factory in New Jersey, in a bakery in the Bronx, on the production line of a chemical factory, on dozens of construction sites, every single day he made a mental review of the waters, the isles and cays ...and entertained no thought that was not related to his return."
Fishers at Work, Workers at Sea describes Puerto Rican fishing families as they negotiate homeland and diaspora. It considers how wage work affects their livelihoods and identities at home and how these independent producers move in and out of global commodity markets. Drawing on some 100 life histories and years of fieldwork, David Griffith and Manuel Valdés Pizzini have developed a complex, often moving portrait of the men and women who fiercely struggle to hang onto the coastal landscapes and cultural heritage tied to the Caribbean Sea.
In the American federal system, states actively compete for jobs, business investment, and factory locations. Labor costs have played an important role in such interstate competition since the days of the pre-Civil War plantation economy. In recent years, however, global economic trends have put added pressures on businesses and government to reduce labor costs. At least, that is what most politicians, the media, and the business community believe.
Globalization and the Politics of Pay examines the economic, political, and social causes and consequences of declining wages in the United States. It challenges the conventional wisdom that globalization is to blame for the decline in workers' earnings. Susan B. Hansen presents a comprehensive analysis of the many factors affecting labor costs and concludes that many of them result from choices made by the states themselves through the laws and policies they enact. In addition, free-market ideologies and low voter turnout have had greater effects in keeping wages down than globalization. In fact, foreign trade and investment can actually result in higher pay in the state labor market.
In this rigorous yet surprising study, Hansen develops new measures of state and federal labor costs to test competing theories of the consequences of reducing wages and benefits. Most economists would argue that higher labor costs cause higher unemployment, and that reducing labor costs will lead to higher levels of job creation. But citizens and elected officials must weigh any employment gains in lower-wage jobs against slower state economic growth, declining personal income, and a less-competitive position in international trade. Cutting state labor costs is shown to have adverse social consequences, including family instability, high crime rates, poverty, and low voter turnouts. The book concludes with policy recommendations for state governments trying to balance their need for more jobs with policies to enhance productivity, living standards, social stability, and international competitiveness.
Good Jobs America
Paul Osterman Russell Sage Foundation, 2012 Library of Congress HD5724.O764 2011 | Dewey Decimal 331.10973
America confronts a jobs crisis that has two faces. The first is obvious when we read the newspapers or talk with our friends and neighbors: there are simply not enough jobs to go around. The second jobs crisis is more subtle but no less serious: far too many jobs fall below the standard that most Americans would consider decent work. A quarter of working adults are trapped in jobs that do not provide living wages, health insurance, or much hope of upward mobility. The problem spans all races and ethnic groups and includes both native-born Americans and immigrants. But Good Jobs America provides examples from industries ranging from food services and retail to manufacturing and hospitals to demonstrate that bad jobs can be made into good ones. Paul Osterman and Beth Shulman make a rigorous argument that by enacting policies to help employers improve job quality we can create better jobs, and futures, for all workers. Good Jobs America dispels several myths about low-wage work and job quality. The book demonstrates that mobility out of the low-wage market is a chimera—far too many adults remain trapped in poor-quality jobs. Osterman and Shulman show that while education and training are important, policies aimed at improving earnings equality are essential to lifting workers out of poverty. The book also demolishes the myth that such policies would slow economic growth. The experiences of countries such as France, Germany, and the Netherlands, show that it is possible to mandate higher job standards while remaining competitive in international markets. Good Jobs America shows that both government and the firms that hire low-wage workers have important roles to play in improving the quality of low-wage jobs. Enforcement agencies might bolster the effectiveness of existing regulations by exerting pressure on parent companies, enabling effects to trickle down to the subsidiaries and sub-contractors where low-wage jobs are located. States like New York have already demonstrated that involving community and advocacy groups—such as immigrant rights organizations, social services agencies, and unions—in the enforcement process helps decrease workplace violations. And since better jobs reduce turnover and improve performance, career ladder programs within firms help create positions employees can aspire to. But in order for ladder programs to work, firms must also provide higher rungs—the career advancement opportunities workers need to get ahead. Low-wage employment occupies a significant share of the American labor market, but most of these jobs offer little and lead nowhere. Good Jobs America reappraises what we know about job quality and low-wage employment and makes a powerful argument for our obligation to help the most vulnerable workers. A core principle of U.S. society is that good jobs be made accessible to all. This book proposes that such a goal is possible if we are committed to realizing it.
Since the early 1980s, the U.S. economy has experienced a growing wage differential: high-skilled workers have claimed an increasing share of available income, while low-skilled workers have seen an absolute decline in real wages. How and why this disparity has arisen is a matter of ongoing debate among policymakers and economists. Two competing theories have emerged to explain this phenomenon, one focusing on international trade and labor market globalization as the driving force behind the devaluation of low-skill jobs, and the other focusing on the role of technological change as a catalyst for the escalation of high-skill wages.
This collection brings together innovative new ideas and data sources in order to provide more satisfying alternatives to the trade versus technology debate and to assess directly the specific impact of international trade on U.S. wages. This timely volume offers a thorough appraisal of the wage distribution predicament, examining the continued effects of technology and globalization on the labor market.
As the distribution of wealth between rich and poor in the United States grew more and more unequal over the past twenty years, this economic gap assumed a life of its own in the popular culture. The news and entertainment media increasingly portrayed the lives of the poor with such stereotypes as the lazy welfare mother and the thuggish teen, offering Americans few ways to learn how the "other half" really lives. Laboring Below the Line works to bridge this gap by synthesizing a wide range of qualitative scholarship on the working poor. The result is a coherent, nuanced portrait of how life is lived below the poverty line, and a compelling analysis of the systemic forces in which poverty is embedded, and through which it is perpetuated. Laboring Below the Line explores the role of interpretive research in understanding the causes and effects of poverty. Drawing on perspectives of the working poor, welfare recipients, and marginally employed men and women, the contributors—an interdisciplinary roster of ethnographers, oral historians, qualitative sociologists, and narrative analysts—dissect the life circumstances that affect the personal outlook, ability to work, and expectations for the future of these people. For example, Carol Stack views the work aspirations of an Oakland teenager for whom a job is important, even though it strains her academic performance. And Ruth Buchanan looks at low-wage telemarketing workers who are attempting to move up the economic ladder while balancing family, education, and other important commitments. What emerges is a compelling picture of low-wage workers—one that illustrates the precarious circumstances of individuals struggling with the economic conditions and institutions that surround them Each chapter also explores the capacity for economic survival from a different angle, with ancillary commentary complementing the ethnographies with perspectives from other fields of study, such as economics. At this moment of governmental retrenchment, ethnography's complex, nonstereotypical portraits of individual people fighting against poverty are especially important. Laboring Below the Line reveals the ambiguities of real lives, the potential for individuals to change in unexpected ways, and the even greater intricacy of the collective life of a community.
Low-Wage Work in Denmark
Niels Westergaard-Nielsen Russell Sage Foundation, 2008 Library of Congress HD8544.L69 2008 | Dewey Decimal 331.79809489
The Danish economy offers a dose of American labor market flexibility inside a European welfare state. The Danish government allows employers a relatively high level of freedom to dismiss workers, but also provides generous unemployment insurance. Widespread union coverage and an active system of collective bargaining help regulate working conditions in the absence of strong government regulation. Denmark's rate of low-wage work—8.5 percent—is the lowest of the five countries under analysis. In Low-Wage Work in Denmark, a team of Danish researchers combines comprehensive national registry data with detailed case studies of five industries to explore why low-end jobs are so different in Denmark. Some jobs that are low-paying in the United States, including hotel maids and meat processors, though still demanding, are much more highly compensated in Denmark. And Danes, unlike American workers, do not stay in low-wage jobs for long. Many go on to higher paying jobs, while a significant minority ends up relying temporarily on income support and benefits sustained by one of the highest tax rates in the world. Low-Wage Work in Denmark provides an insightful look at the particularities of the Danish labor market and the lessons it holds for both the United States and the rest of Europe. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Case Studies of Job Quality in Advanced Economies
Low-Wage Work in France
Eve Caroli Russell Sage Foundation, 2008 Library of Congress HD8431.L69 2008 | Dewey Decimal 331.7980944
In France, low wages have historically inspired tremendous political controversy. The social and political issues at stake center on integrating the working class into society and maintaining the stability of the republican regime. A variety of federal policies—including high minimum wages and strong employee protection—serve to ensure that the low-wage workforce stays relatively small. Low-Wage Work in France examines both the benefits and drawbacks of this politically inspired system of worker protection. France's high minimum wage, which is indexed not only to inflation but also to the average increase in employee wages, plays a critical role in limiting the development of low-paid work. Social welfare benefits and a mandatory thirty-five hour work week also make life easier for low-wage workers. Strong employee protection is a central characteristic of the French model, but high levels of protection for employees may also be one of the causes of France's chronically high rate of unemployment. The threat of long-term unemployment may, in turn, contribute to a persistent sense of insecurity among French workers. Low-Wage Work in France provides a lucid analysis of how a highly regulated labor market shapes the experiences of workers—for better and for worse. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Case Studies of Job Quality in Advanced Economies
Low-Wage Work in Germany
Gerhard Bosch Russell Sage Foundation, 2008 Library of Congress HD8451.L69 2008 | Dewey Decimal 331.7980944
In recent years, the German government has intentionally expanded the low-wage work sector in an effort to reduce exceptionally high levels of unemployment. As a result, the share of the German workforce employed in low-paying jobs now rivals that of the United States. Low Wage Work in Germany examines both the federal policies and changing economic conditions that have driven this increase in low-wage work. The new "mini-job" reflects the federal government's attempt to make certain low-paying jobs attractive to both employers and employees. Employers pay a low flat rate for benefits, and employees, who work a limited number of hours per week, are exempt from social security and tax contributions. Other factors, including slow economic growth, a declining collective bargaining system, and the influx of foreign workers, also contribute to the growing incidence of low-wage work. Yet while both Germany and the United States have large shares of low-wage workers, German workers receive health insurance, four weeks of paid vacation, and generous old age support—benefits most low-wage workers in the United States can only dream of. The German experience offers an important opportunity to explore difficult trade-offs between unemployment and low-wage work. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Case Studies of Job Quality in Advanced Economies
The Dutch economy has often been heralded for accomplishing solid employment growth within a generous welfare system. In recent years, the Netherlands has seen a rise in low-wage work and has maintained one of the lowest unemployment rates in the European Union. Low-Wage Work in the Netherlands narrows in on the causes and consequences of this new development. The authors find that the increase in low-wage work can be partly attributed to a steep rise in the number of part-time jobs and non-standard work contracts—46 percent of Dutch workers hold part-time jobs. The decline in full-time work has challenged historically powerful Dutch unions and has led to a slow but steady dismantling of many social insurance programs from 1979 onward. At the same time, there are hopeful lessons to be gleaned from the Dutch model: low-wage workers benefit from a well-developed system of income transfers, and many move on to higher paying jobs. Low-Wage Work in the Netherlands paints a nuanced picture of the Dutch economy by analyzing institutions that both support and challenge its low-wage workforce. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Case Studies of Job Quality in Advanced Economies
The United Kingdom's labor market policies place it in a kind of institutional middle ground between the United States and continental Europe. Low pay grew sharply between the late 1970s and the mid-1990s, in large part due to the decline of unions and collective bargaining and the removal of protections for the low paid. The changes instituted by Tony Blair's New Labour government since 1997, including the introduction of the National Minimum Wage, halted the growth in low pay but have not reversed it. Low-Wage Work in the United Kingdom explains why the current level of low-paying work remains one of the highest in Europe. The authors argue that the failure to deal with low pay reflects a policy approach which stressed reducing poverty, but also centers on the importance of moving people off benefits and into work, even at low wages. The U.K. government has introduced a version of the U.S. welfare to work policies and continues to stress the importance of a highly flexible and competitive labor market. A central policy theme has been that education and training can empower people to both enter work and to move into better paying jobs. The case study research reveals the endemic nature of low paid work and the difficulties workers face in escaping from the bottom end of the jobs ladder. However, compared to the United States, low paid workers in the United Kingdom do benefit from in-work social security benefits, targeted predominately at those with children, and entitlements to non-pay benefits such as annual leave, maternity and sick pay, and crucially, access to state-funded health care. Low-Wage Work in the United Kingdom skillfully illustrates the way that the interactions between government policies, labor market institutions, and the economy have ensured that low pay remains a persistent problem within the United Kingdom. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Case Studies of Job Quality in Advanced Economies
As global flows of goods, capital, information, and people accelerate competitive pressure on businesses throughout the industrialized world, firms have responded by reorganizing work in a variety of efforts to improve efficiency and cut costs. In the United States, where minimum wages are low, unions are weak, and immigrants are numerous, this has often lead to declining wages, increased job insecurity, and deteriorating working conditions for workers with little bargaining power in the lower tiers of the labor market. Low-Wage Work in the Wealthy World builds on an earlier Russell Sage Foundation study (Low-Wage America) to compare the plight of low-wage workers in the United States to five European countries—Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom—where wage supports, worker protections, and social benefits have generally been stronger. By examining low-wage jobs in systematic case studies across five industries, this groundbreaking international study goes well beyond standard statistics to reveal national differences in the quality of low-wage work and the well being of low-wage workers. The United States has a high percentage of low-wage workers—nearly three times more than Denmark and twice more than France. Since the early 1990s, however, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Germany have all seen substantial increases in low-wage jobs. While these jobs often entail much the same drudgery in Europe and the United States, quality of life for low-wage workers varies substantially across countries. The authors focus their analysis on the "inclusiveness" of each country's industrial relations system, including national collective bargaining agreements and minimum-wage laws, and the generosity of social benefits such as health insurance, pensions, family leave, and paid vacation time—which together sustain a significantly higher quality of life for low-wage workers in some countries. Investigating conditions in retail sales, hospitals, food processing, hotels, and call centers, the book's industry case studies shed new light on how national institutions influence the way employers organize work and shape the quality of low-wage jobs. A telling example: in the United States and several European nations, wages and working conditions of front-line workers in meat processing plants are deteriorating as large retailers put severe pressure on prices, and firms respond by employing low-wage immigrant labor. But in Denmark, where unions are strong, and, to a lesser extent, in France, where the statutory minimum wage is high, the low-wage path is blocked, and firms have opted instead to invest more heavily in automation to raise productivity, improve product quality, and sustain higher wages. However, as Low-Wage Work in the Wealthy World also shows, the European nations' higher level of inclusiveness is increasingly at risk. "Exit options," both formal and informal, have emerged to give employers ways around national wage supports and collectively bargained agreements. For some jobs, such as room cleaners in hotels, stronger labor relations systems in Europe have not had much impact on the quality of work. Low-Wage Work in the Wealthy World offers an analysis of low-wage work in Europe and the United States based on concrete, detailed, and systematic contrasts. Its revealing case studies not only provide a human context but also vividly remind us that the quality and incidence of low-wage work is more a matter of national choice than economic necessity and that government policies and business practices have inevitable consequences for the quality of workers' lives. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Case Studies of Job Quality in Advanced Economies
Monitoring Sweatshops offers the first comprehensive assessment of efforts to address and improve conditions in garment factories. Jill Esbenshade describes the government's efforts to persuade retailers and clothing companies to participate in private monitoring programs. She shows the different approaches to monitoring that firms have taken, and the variety of private monitors employed, from large accounting companies to local non-profits. Esbenshade also shows how the efforts of the anti-sweatshop movement have forced companies to employ monitors overseas as well. When monitoring is understood as the result of the withdrawal of governments from enforcing labor standards as well as the weakening of labor unions, it becomes clear that the United States is experiencing a shift from a social contract between workers, businesses, and government to one that Jill Esbenshade calls the social responsibility contract. She illustrates this by presenting the recent history of monitoring, with considerable attention to the most thorough of the Department of Labor's programs, the one in Los Angeles. Esbenshade also explains the maze of alternative approaches being employed worldwide to decide the questions of what should be monitored and by whom.
For over a decade, policy makers have emphasized work as the best means to escape poverty. However, millions of working Americans still fall below the poverty line. Though many of these "working poor" remain mired in poverty for long periods, some eventually climb their way up the earnings ladder. These success stories show that the low wage labor market is not necessarily a dead end, but little research to date has focused on how these upwardly mobile workers get ahead. In Moving Up or Moving On, Fredrik Andersson, Harry Holzer, and Julia Lane examine the characteristics of both employees and employers that lead to positive outcomes for workers. Using new Census data, Moving Up or Moving On follows a group of low earners over a nine-year period to analyze the behaviors and characteristics of individuals and employers that lead workers to successful career outcomes. The authors find that, in general, workers who "moved on" to different employers fared better than those who tried to "move up" within the same firm. While changing employers meant losing valuable job tenure and spending more time out of work than those who stayed put, workers who left their jobs in search of better opportunity elsewhere ended up with significantly higher earnings in the long term—in large part because they were able to find employers that paid better wages and offered more possibilities for promotion. Yet moving on to better jobs is difficult for many of the working poor because they lack access to good-paying firms. Andersson, Holzer, and Lane demonstrate that low-wage workers tend to live far from good paying employers, making an improved transportation infrastructure a vital component of any public policy to improve job prospects for the poor. Labor market intermediaries can also help improve access to good employers. The authors find that one such intermediary, temporary help agencies, improved long-term outcomes for low-wage earners by giving them exposure to better-paying firms and therefore the opportunity to obtain better jobs. Taken together, these findings suggest that public policy can best serve the working poor by expanding their access to good employers, assisting them with job training and placement, and helping them to prepare for careers that combine both mobility and job retention strategies. Moving Up or Moving On offers a compelling argument about how low-wage workers can achieve upward mobility, and how public policy can facilitate the process. Clearly written and based on an abundance of new data, this book provides concrete, practical answers to the large questions surrounding the low-wage labor market.
The wage arrears crisis has been one of the biggest problems facing contemporary Russia. At its peak, it has involved some $10 billion worth of unpaid wages and has affected approximately 70 percent of the workforce. Yet public protest in the country has been rather limited. The relative passivity of most Russians in the face of such desperate circumstances is a puzzle for students of both collective action and Russian politics. In Protest and the Politics of Blame, Debra Javeline shows that to understand the Russian public's reaction to wage delays, one must examine the ease or difficulty of attributing blame for the crisis.
Previous studies have tried to explain the Russian response to economic hardship by focusing on the economic, organizational, psychological, cultural, and other obstacles that prevent Russians from acting collectively. Challenging the conventional wisdom by testing these alternative explanations with data from an original nationwide survey, Javeline finds that many of the alternative explanations come up short. Instead, she focuses on the need to specify blame among the dizzying number of culprits and potential problem solvers in the crisis, including Russia's central authorities, local authorities, and enterprise managers. Javeline shows that understanding causal relationships drives human behavior and that specificity in blame attribution for a problem influences whether people address that problem through protest.
Debra Javeline is Assistant Professor of Political Science, Rice University.
This book tells the story of 15,000 wool workers who went on strike for more than a year, defying police violence and hunger. The strikers were mainly immigrants and half were women. The Passaic textile strike, the first time that the Communist Party led a mass workers’ struggle in the United States, captured the nation’s imagination and came to symbolize the struggle of workers throughout the country when the labor movement as a whole was in decline during the conservative, pro-business 1920s. Although the strike was defeated, many of the methods and tactics of the Passaic strike presaged the struggles for industrial unions a decade later in the Great Depression.
Regulatory Justice is based on a case study of two closely linked federal agencies—the Cost of Living Council (CLC) and the Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP)—which administered a nationwide wage-price freeze in 1971.
The distribution of income, the rate of pay raises, and the mobility of employees is crucial to understanding labor economics. Although research abounds on the distribution of wages across individuals in the economy, wage differentials within firms remain a mystery to economists. The first effort to examine linked employer-employee data across countries, The Structure of Wages:An International Comparison analyzes labor trends and their institutional background in the United States and eight European countries.
A distinguished team of contributors reveal how a rising wage variance rewards star employees at a higher rate than ever before, how talent becomes concentrated in a few firms over time, and how outside market conditions affect wages in the twenty-first century. From a comparative perspective that examines wage and income differences within and between countries such as Denmark, Italy, and the Netherlands, this volume will be required reading for economists and those working in industrial organization.
Inequality has been on the rise in America for more than two decades. This socially divisive trend began in the economic doldrums of the 1970s and continued through the booming 1980s, when surging economic tides clearly failed to lift all ships. Instead, escalating inequality in both individual earnings and family income widened the gulf between rich and poor and led to the much-publicized decline of the middle class. Uneven Tides brings together a distinguished group of economists to confront the crucial questions about this unprecedented rise in inequality. Just how large and pervasive was it? What were its principal causes? And why did it continue in the 1980s, when previous periods of national economic growth have generally reduced inequality? Reviewing the best current evidence, the essays in Uneven Tides show that rising inequality is a complex phenomenon, the result of a web of circumstances inherent in the nation's current industrial, social, and political situation. Once attributed to the rising supply of inexperienced workers—as baby boomers, new immigrants, and women entered the labor market—the growing inequality in individual earnings is revealed in Uneven Tides to be the direct result of the economy's increasing demand for skilled workers. The authors explore many of the possible causes of this trend, including the employment shift from manufacturing to the service sector, the heightened importance of technology in the workplace, the decline of unionization, and the intensified efforts to compete in a global marketplace. Uneven Tides also examines the equally dramatic growth in the inequality of family income, and reviews the effects of family size, the age and education of household heads, and the transition to both two-earner and single-parent families. Although these demographic shifts played a role, what emerges most clearly is an understanding of the powerful influence of public policy, as increasingly regressive taxes, declining welfare benefits, and a stagnant minimum wage continue to amplify the effects of market forces on income. With the rise in inequality now much in the headlines, it is clear that our nation's ability to reverse these shifting currents requires deeper understanding of their causes and consequences. Uneven Tides is the first book to get beyond the news stories to a clear analysis of the changing fortunes of America's families. It should be required reading for anyone with a serious interest in the economic underpinnings of the country's social problems.
"This pathbreaking study sets forth the history of attempts to implement pay equity and evaluates the hidden costs of achieving equity. With candor and intelligence, the authors clearly detail the political, organizational, and personal consequences of comparable worth reform strategies. Using extensive data from Minnesota, where pay equity has proceeded further than in any other state in the nation, as well as comparative information from other states and localities, the authors expose the crucial initial steps which define public policy.
"A perceptive and judicious analysis of comparable worth."—Wendy Kaminer, New York Times Book Review
"Very well-crafted. . . . Wage Justice has admirably launched the scholarly evaluation of pay equity, revealing the unforeseen complexities of this key feminist public policy innovation."—Maurine Weiner Greenwald, Journal of American History
"An insightful glimpse of the policy process."—Marian Lief Palley, American Political Science Review
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.
Andrew Gordon goes to the core of the Japanese enterprise system, the workplace, and reveals a complex history of contest and confrontation. The Japanese model produced a dynamic economy which owed as much to coercion as to happy consensus. Managerial hegemony was achieved only after a bitter struggle that undermined the democratic potential of postwar society. The book draws on examples across Japanese industry, but focuses in depth on iron and steel. This industry was at the center of the country's economic recovery and high-speed growth, a primary site of corporate managerial strategy and important labor union initiatives.
Beginning with the Occupation reforms and their influence on the workplace, Gordon traces worker activism and protest in the 1950s and '60s, and how they gave way to management victory in the 1960s and '70s. He shows how working people had to compromise institutions of self-determination in pursuit of economic affluence. He illuminates the Japanese system with frequent references to other capitalist nations whose workplaces assumed very different shape, and looks to Japan's future, rebutting hasty predictions that Japanese industrial relations are about to be dramatically transformed in the American free-market image. Gordon argues that it is more likely that Japan will only modestly adjust the status quo that emerged through the turbulent postwar decades he chronicles here.
Dostoevsky’s views on punishment are usually examined through the prism of his Christian commitments. For some, this means an orientation toward mercy; for others, an affirmation of suffering as a path to redemption. Anna Schur incorporates sources from philosophy, criminology, psychology, and history to argue that Dostoevsky’s thinking about punishment was shaped not only by his Christian ethics but also by the debates on penal theory and practice unfolding during his lifetime.
As Dostoevsky attempts to balance the various ethical and cultural imperatives, he displays ambivalence both about punishment and about mercy. This ambivalence, Schur argues, is further complicated by what Dostoevsky sees as the unfathomable quality of the self, which hinders every attempt to match crimes with punishments. The one certainty he holds is that a proper response to wrongdoing must include a concern for the wrongdoer’s moral improvement.
Anyone who has encountered costumed workers at a living history museum may well have wondered what their jobs are like, churning butter or firing muskets while dressed in period clothing. In The Wages of History, Amy Tyson enters the world of the public history interpreters at Minnesota's Historic Fort Snelling to investigate how they understand their roles and experience their daily work. Drawing on archival research, personal interviews, and participant observation, she reframes the current discourse on history museums by analyzing interpreters as laborers within the larger service and knowledge economies.
Although many who are drawn to such work initially see it as a privilege—an opportunity to connect with the public in meaningful ways through the medium of history—the realities of the job almost inevitably alter that view. Not only do interpreters make considerable sacrifices, both emotional and financial, in order to pursue their work, but their sense of special status can lead them to avoid confronting troubling conditions on the job, at times fueling tensions in the workplace.
This case study also offers insights—many drawn from the author's seven years of working as an interpreter at Fort Snelling—into the way gendered roles and behaviors from the past play out among the workers, the importance of creative autonomy to historical interpreters, and the ways those on public history's front lines both resist and embrace the site's more difficult and painful histories relating to slavery and American Indian genocide.
Near the end of the century, a new and terrifying disease arrives suddenly from a distant continent. Infecting people through sex, it storms from country to country, defying all drugs and medical knowledge. The deadly disease provokes widespread fear and recrimination; medical authorities call the epidemic "the just rewards of unbridled lust"; a religious leader warns that "God has raised up new diseases against debauchery." The time was the 1490s; the place, Europe; the disease, syphilis; and the religious leader was none other than John Calvin.
Throughout history, Western society has often viewed sickness as a punishment for sin. It has failed to prevent and cure diseases—especially diseases tied to sex—that were seen as the retribution of a wrathful God. The Wages of Sin, the remarkable history of these diseases, shows how society's views of particular afflictions often heightened the suffering of the sick and substituted condemnation for care. Peter Allen moves from the medieval diseases of lovesickness and leprosy through syphilis and bubonic plague, described by one writer as "a broom in the hands of the Almighty, with which He sweepeth the most nasty and uncomely corners of the universe." More recently, medical and social responses to masturbation in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and AIDS in the twentieth round out Allen's timely and erudite study of the intersection of private morality and public health. The Wages of Sin tells the fascinating story of how ancient views on sex and sin have shaped, and continue to shape, religious life, medical practice, and private habits.
William T. Loomis examines all surviving Athenian wages, salaries, welfare payments and other labor costs to determine what people really were paid for various kinds of work and allowances. These determinations, in turn, enable the author to cast a new and authoritative light on three controversial questions: Was there a "standard wage" in Athens? Were there periods of inflation and deflation? Did Athenians have an "embedded" or a "market" economy?
Individual chapters critically examine each surviving wage or other payment in thirteen job categories, including public office holders; soldiers and sailors; priests, oracles, and seers; overseers, architects, and other salaried construction personnel; and prostitutes and pimps. Three additional chapters then consider whether there was a "standard wage," inflation and deflation in Athens, and the implications of these conclusions for the hotly debated question about the nature of the Athenian economy.
This is the first comprehensive study of Athenian labor and welfare costs since August Böckh's Die Staatshaushaltung der Athener (1886). An updated critical study has been much needed, to take account of the greatly expanded evidence (Aristotle's Constitution of the Athenians, more than a dozen other papyrus texts and hundreds of inscriptions), and the uneven quality of the sources. This collection allows William T. Loomis to argue--contrary to prevailing scholarly opinion--that there never was a "standard wage" at Athens.
"This volume will be a significant contribution to all studies of ancient Greek civilization." --Alan L. Boegehold, Brown University
William Loomis is Visiting Professor of Classics, University of Michigan.
Deindustrialization in the United States has triggered record-setting joblessness in manufacturing centers from Detroit to Baltimore. At the same time, global competition and technological change have actually stimulated both new businesses and new jobs. The jury is still out, however, on how many of these positions represent a significant source of long-term job quality and security. Where Are All the Good Jobs Going? addresses the most pressing questions for today's workers: whether the U.S. labor market can still produce jobs with good pay and benefits for the majority of workers and whether these jobs can remain stable over time. What constitutes a "good" job, who gets them, and are they becoming more or less secure? Where Are All the Good Jobs Going? examines U.S. job quality and volatility from the perspectives of both workers and employers. The authors analyze the Longitudinal Employer Household Dynamics (LEHD) data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau, and the book covers data for twelve states during twelve years, 1992–2003, resulting in an unprecedented examination of workers and firms in several industries over time. Counter to conventional wisdom, the authors find that good jobs are not disappearing, but their character and location have changed. The market produces fewer good jobs in manufacturing and more in professional services and finance. Not surprisingly, the best jobs with the highest pay still go to the most educated workers. The most vulnerable workers—older, low-income, and low-skilled—work in the most insecure environments where they can be easily downsized or displaced by a fickle labor market. A higher federal minimum wage and increased unionization can contribute to the creation of well paying jobs. So can economic strategies that help smaller metropolitan areas support new businesses. These efforts, however, must function in tandem with policies that prepare workers for available positions, such as improving general educational attainment and providing career education. Where Are All the Good Jobs Going? makes clear that future policies will need to address not only how to produce good jobs but how to produce good workers. This cohesive study takes the necessary first steps with a sensible approach to the needs of workers and the firms that hire them.
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