Low-Wage Work in the Wealthy World
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
The seal of the Russell Sage Foundation features the ambitious slogan: “For the Improvement of Social and Living Conditions.” For over a century, the research projects undertaken by the Foundation, whatever their specific aims, have also sought to serve this broader purpose. ...
CHAPTER 1: Introduction and Overview
This volume grows out of the research on the United States summarized in Low-Wage America: How Employers Are Reshaping Opportunity in the Workplace (Appelbaum, Bernhardt, and Murnane 2003), which sought to understand how U.S. firms were responding to economic globalization, deregulation, ...
PART I: Low-Wage Work and National Labor Market Institutions
CHAPTER 2: Low Pay, Working Conditions, and Living Standards
As a prelude to discussion of the role of industrial relations and wage-setting institutions in chapter 3 and the impact of labor market institutions on labor supply in chapter 4, this chapter describes the importance and characteristics of low-wage work and the living standards and working conditions of low-wage workers ...
CHAPTER 3: Industrial Relations, Legal Regulations, and Wage Setting
The preceding chapter summarized the main features of low-wage work across our six countries. In this chapter and the next, we explain the main institutional determinants of the size and structure of low-wage work, focusing on the national institutions involved in setting pay. ...
CHAPTER 4: The Impact of Institutions on the Supply Side of the Low-Wage Labor Market
The previous chapter focused on the impact of institutions on wage setting across firms and sectors, with an eye toward the impact of these factors on the industry- and economy-wide share of low-wage work. That chapter identified the degree of inclusiveness or exclusiveness ...
PART II: Industry Case Studies
CHAPTER 5: Institutions, Firms, and the Quality of Jobs in Low-Wage Labor Markets
The case studies in this volume suggest that European employment models are under considerable pressure. Efforts to reduce wages have led some employers to take advantage of various loopholes that can enable them to escape the institutions and social norms that govern the employment relationship in their countries, ...
CHAPTER 6: Retail Jobs in Comparative Perspective
Retail businesses and retail jobs have much in common in the United States and western Europe in terms of core tasks, workforce, and competitive trends.1 Yet, despite all these common features, we see significant variation in job quality as we look across the United States and the five European countries studied here. ...
CHAPTER 7: Working at the Wage Floor: Hotel Room Attendants and Labor Market Institutions in Europe and the United States
In the face of global competition and continued pressure on wages from less-developed countries, a popular prescription for industrialized nations is to differentiate themselves by pursuing a knowledge-based, high-skill economy (see, for example, Reich 1991; Florida 2002; EC 2004a). ...
CHAPTER 8. Cleaning and Nursing in Hospitals: Institutional Variety and the Reshaping of Low-Wage Jobs
In their research on low-wage and low-skill work in U.S. hospitals, Eileen Appelbaum and her colleagues (2003) found a high incidence of low-wage work among cleaners and nursing assistants. At the time of their study, U.S. hospitals were struggling with high turnover and difficulties in recruiting low-skilled workers. ...
CHAPTER 9: Tough Meat, Hard Candy: Implications for Low-Wage Work in the Food-Processing Industry
Food processing is traditionally a low-wage area. It is also usually one of the biggest manufacturing sectors of a national economy, it is heavily tied to national culture, and it is at the same time strongly affected by reduced trade barriers and increased globalization. The food manufacturing industry is highly competitive (Wilson and Hogarth 2003), ...
CHAPTER 10: Restructuring Customer Service: Labor Market Institutions and Call Center Workers in Europe and the United States
Call centers emerged as an important source of employment in advanced economies in the 1990s. Made possible by advances in digital technologies and the declining costs of transmission, these technology-mediated centers were viewed by firms as a cost-effective service and sales channel for their customers, ...