Thoughts on an Exceptional U.S. Labor Market
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Series: Russell Sage Centennial Volume
Title Page, Copyright Page
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
THE RUSSELL SAGECENTENNIAL VOLUMES
On April 19, 2007, the Russell Sage Foundation will celebrate its centennial, 100 years to the day since Margaret Olivia Sage dedicated the foundation, in her husband’s name, “to the improvement of social and living conditions in the United States of America.” From the outset, social...
In 1984 the American Economics Association sent a delegation of economists to the Soviet Union for scientific discussion with Soviet economists. It was the final meeting in a series of cultural exchanges at a time when the Cold War...
CHAPTER 1. The U.S. Market-Driven Labor System
More than any other advanced country, the United States relies on the competitive labor market to determine the well-being of workers and the living standards of their families. The collective bargaining institutions, government regulations, and social safety nets that capitalist economies use to constrain market forces and ensure a minimal level of economic...
CHAPTER 2. When Markets Drive Outcomes
At the turn of the twenty-first century, the U.S. labor market did better in two important ways than the labor market of most other advanced countries. The United States generated rising employment relative to the working-age population while European Union countries were mired in low employment and lengthy spells of high unemployment rates. The...
CHAPTER 3. Distribution Matters
Americans are traditionally less concerned about income distribution than persons in other countries. As long as wages and incomes rise for everyone, why worry that Bill Gates makes more than all the other Bills in the country taken together? Economists generally stress the fact that inequality—differences...
CHAPTER 4. Why Americans Work and Work
Americans work more hours than persons in any other advanced economy. In 2005 American adults averaged 1,804 hours worked over the year compared to 1,638 hours worked by Europeans and 1,775 hours worked by Japanese.1
CHAPTER 5. Where Have All the Unions Gone . . . Long Time Passing?
Trade unions are the primary worker institution in capitalist economies. They replace market wage setting with collective bargaining and management control over workplaces with “industrial jurisprudence”—rules and negotiated...
CHAPTER 6. Regulating the Unregulated Market
CHAPTER 7. Management in the Driver’s Seat
With unions in abeyance and weakly enforced government regulations, management determines what happens at most workplaces. The well-being of workers depends on how management organizes work, deals with problems at the workplace, and divides revenues among workers, shareholders, and managers....
CHAPTER 8. The Great Doubling: Is Your Job Going to Bombay or Beijing?
Before the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union, China’s movement toward market capitalism, and India’s decision to undertake market reforms and enter the global trading system, the global economy encompassed roughly half of the world’s population— the advanced OECD countries, Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, and some...
CHAPTER 9. Helping the Invisible Hand Do Better
Nothing irritated John Dunlop, former secretary of Labor, dean of faculty at Harvard, and my mentor as labor economist at Harvard, as much as academics tacking obiter dicta policy suggestions on to the end of their specialized analyses without giving them the critical attention that they had given to...