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This paper poses the question of whether the mainstream feminist movement in the United States, in concentrating its efforts on achieving gender parity in the existing workplace, is selling women short. In it, I argue that contemporary U.S. feminism has not adequately theorized the problems with the relatively unregulated market system in the United States. That failure has contributed to a situation in which women’s participation in the labor market is mistakenly equated with liberation, and in which other far-ranging effects of the market system on women’s lives inside and outside of work – many of them negative – are overlooked. To theorize the effects of the market system on women’s lives in a more nuanced manner, I borrow from the insights of earlier Marxist and socialist feminists. I then use this more nuanced perspective to outline an agenda for feminism, which I call “market-cautious feminism,” that seeks to regulate the market to serve women’s interests.
This paper provides household lifetime inequality indexes derived from representative U.S. labor market data. We obtain this result by using estimates of the household…
This paper provides household lifetime inequality indexes derived from representative U.S. labor market data. We obtain this result by using estimates of the household search model proposed by Flabbi and Mabli (2012). Inequality indexes computed on the benchmark model shows that inequality in utility values is substantially different from inequality in earnings and wages and that inequality at the cross-sectional level is significantly different from inequality at the lifetime level. Both results deliver original policy implications that would have not been captured without using our approach. In particular, we find that a counterfactual policy experiment consisting in a mean-preserving spread of the wage offers distributions increases lifetime inequality in wages and earnings but not in utility. When comparing inequality at the individual level between men and women, we find inequality in wages and earnings to be higher for husbands than wives but inequality in utility to be higher for wives. A counterfactual decomposition shows that the job offers parameters are the main source of the gender differential.
Purpose – To use insights from economic sociology to analyze how U.S. employment law understands and regulates the relationship between prison labor and conventional…
Purpose – To use insights from economic sociology to analyze how U.S. employment law understands and regulates the relationship between prison labor and conventional employment.
Methodology – Legal analysis of all published court opinions deciding whether federal employment laws such as the minimum wage apply to prison labor.
Findings – Courts decide whether prison labor is an “employment relationship” by deciding whether it is an “economic” relationship. Most interpret prison labor as noneconomic because they locate it in a nonmarket sphere of penal relationships. A minority of courts use a different conception of the economy, one which interprets prison labor as a form of nonmarket work.
Implications – The economic character of prison labor may be articulated using the same theoretical perspectives and analytical techniques developed to analyze family labor as economically significant nonmarket work. Doing so, however, too readily accepts the market/nonmarket distinction. Given the thoroughly social character of market work, prison labor's highly structured, institutionally specific character does not preclude characterizing it as market work, and some of its features support interpreting it as such.
In this legal context, identifying practices as economic or not, and as market or not, has concrete consequences for the actors themselves. Rather than using market/nonmarket distinctions as analytical tools, scholars might treat actors' designation of an economic practice as part of a market or not as a site of conflict, subject to institutionalization, and worthy of sociological study.
Long considered the classic coordinated market economy featuring employment security and relatively little employment precarity, the German labor market has undergone…
Long considered the classic coordinated market economy featuring employment security and relatively little employment precarity, the German labor market has undergone profound changes in recent decades. We assess the evidence for a rise in precarious employment in Germany from 1984 to 2013. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel through the Luxembourg Income Study, we examine low-wage employment, working poverty, and temporary employment. We also analyze changes in the demographics and the education/skill level of the German labor force. Although employment overall has increased, there has been a simultaneous significant increase in earnings and wage inequality. Moreover, there has been a clear increase in all three measures of precarious employment. The analyses reveal that models including a wide variety of independent variables – demographic, education/skill, job/work characteristics, and region – cannot explain the rise of precarious employment. Instead, we propose institutional change is the most plausible explanation. In addition to reunification and major social policy and labor market reforms, we highlight the dramatic decline of unionization among German workers. We conclude that while there are elements of stability to the German coordinated market economy, Germany increasingly exhibits substantial dualization, liberalization, inequality, and precarity.
This paper addresses revolutionary changes in the education, fertility and market work of U.S. families formed in the 1870s–1920s: Fertility fell from 5.3 to 2.6; the…
This paper addresses revolutionary changes in the education, fertility and market work of U.S. families formed in the 1870s–1920s: Fertility fell from 5.3 to 2.6; the graduation rate of their children increased from 7% to 50%; and the fraction of adulthood wives devoted to market-oriented work increased from 7% to 23% (by one measure).
These trends are addressed within a unified framework to examine the ability of several proposed mechanisms to quantitatively replicate these changes. Based on careful calibration, the choices of successive generations of representative husband-and-wife households over the quantity and quality of their children, household production, and the extent of mother’s involvement in market-oriented production are simulated.
Rising wages, declining mortality, a declining gender wage gap, and increased efficiency and public provision of schooling cannot, individually or in combination, reduce fertility or increase stocks of human capital to levels seen in the data. The best fit of the model to the data also involves: (1) a decreased tendency among parents to view potential earnings of children as the property of parents and (2) rising consumption shares per dependent child.
Greater attention should be given the determinants of parental control of the work and earnings of children for this period.
One contribution is the gathering of information and strategies necessary to establish an initial baseline, and the time paths for parameters and targets for this period beset with data limitations. A second contribution is identifying the contributions of various mechanisms toward reaching those calibration targets.
The rapid growth of online social networking sites (“SNS”) such as LinkedIn and Facebook has created new forms of online labor market intermediation that are reconfiguring…
The rapid growth of online social networking sites (“SNS”) such as LinkedIn and Facebook has created new forms of online labor market intermediation that are reconfiguring the hiring process in profound ways; yet, little is understood about the implications of these new technologies for job seekers navigating the labor market, or more broadly, for the careers and lives of workers. The existing literature has focused on digital inequality – workers’ unequal access to or skilled use of digital technologies – but has left unanswered critical questions about the emerging and broad effects of SNS as a labor market intermediary. Drawing on in-depth interviews with unemployed workers this paper describes job seekers’ experiences using SNS to look for work. The findings suggest that SNS intermediation of the labor market has two kinds of effects. First, as an intermediary for hiring, SNS produces labor market winners and losers involving filtering processes that often have little to do with evaluations of merit. Second, SNS filtering processes exert new pressures on all workers, whether winners or losers as perceived though this new filter, to manage their careers, and to some extent their private lives, in particular ways that fit the logic of the SNS-mediated labor market.
Purpose – I suggest that we conceptualize labor markets as observable social networks, in which workplaces are the nodes and people moving between workplaces are the…
Purpose – I suggest that we conceptualize labor markets as observable social networks, in which workplaces are the nodes and people moving between workplaces are the edges. The movement of people delivers the actionable information as to what the supply, demand, and going wage for labor might be. Labor market networks are hypothesized to be quite thin thus leading to substantial wage setting autonomy within workplaces, consistent with contemporary observations in both economics and sociology as to the weakness of labor market signals.Method – This paper reviews theoretical and empirical work in economics, sociology, and network science and develops a network image of labor market structure and function. Hypotheses derived from economic, sociological, and network theories are proposed to explain workplace-level wage setting.Findings – Information flow, trust in information, information variance, collusion, and status beliefs are all proposed as important network properties of labor markets. The paper outlines an observational strategy to make labor markets scientifically observable.Originality – Economists and sociologists often refer to labor markets as mechanisms setting the price of labor but rarely observe them. This paper outlines a strategy for making the invisible hand of the market scientifically observable.
The South African government actively intervenes in the labor market in the pursuit of redress of social injustice. These interventions are complicated by economics and…
The South African government actively intervenes in the labor market in the pursuit of redress of social injustice. These interventions are complicated by economics and have a direct effect on intentions to turnover. In addition, South Africa has a dual labor market, with a high unemployment rate among lesser skilled workers, and a skills shortage at the top of the labor market.
There are four clear eras in the labor market of post-Apartheid South Africa. The first era was after democratic elections in 1994, when the government focused on nation-building with the introduction of indigenization programs. The second era was characterized by economic prosperity and an intensification of indigenization programs. The third era was characterized by rampant state corruption and increased regulatory uncertainty. During this period, the economy stagnated and unemployment increased. Firms restructured and lower-level workers were retrenched and higher-level skilled workers left the country. In 2018, a new president undertook to grow the South African economy and attract foreign direct investment. Despite these efforts, there was a spike in South Africans emigrating, increasing the turnover of highly skilled South Africans of all races.
Economics and politics create both push and pull factors and many unintended consequences, and the dual labor market reacts differently to labor markets than in developed economies. The lower-skilled employees lose their jobs as the economy contracts, while highly skilled jobs remain difficult to fill. However, skilled professionals nonetheless feel increasingly uncertain about their future employability.
Using a large sample of diversified firms from 38 countries we investigate the influence of several national-level institutional factors or “institutional voids” on the…
Using a large sample of diversified firms from 38 countries we investigate the influence of several national-level institutional factors or “institutional voids” on the value of corporate diversification. Specifically, we explore whether the presence of frictions in a country’s capital markets, labor markets, and product markets, affects the excess value of diversified firms. We find that the value of diversified firms relative to their single-segment peers is higher in countries with less-efficient capital and labor markets, but find no evidence that product market efficiency affects the relative value of diversification. These results provide support for the theory of internal capital markets that argues that internal capital allocation would be relatively more beneficial in the presence of frictions in the external capital markets. In addition, the results show that diversification can be beneficial in the presence of frictions in the labor market.
This article compares the mobility experience of Austria, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom post-enlargement. In all four countries, migrant inflows from the new EU…
This article compares the mobility experience of Austria, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom post-enlargement. In all four countries, migrant inflows from the new EU member states account for the bulk of contemporary labour mobility. At the same time, issues of wage dumping have arisen everywhere, raising questions about compliance and the ‘re-embedding’ of mobility flows. Hence the article examines the labour market impact of recent East-West migration as well as policy responses by the social partners and public authorities that are geared towards the re-regulation of employment standards. Some commonalities are identified, especially in relation to the broadening of national wage floors and the growing role of the state in enforcing labour standards. However, some differences remain, especially whether re-regulation happens on the basis of collective agreements or statutory minimum rights. In this regard, different bargaining traditions, the power resources of labour market actors and the capacity of unions to build political coalitions with the state and employers are identified as crucial factors in shaping national and sectoral response strategies.