April 2013 (Vol. 66, No. 2)
Click on article titles to display their abstracts.
The American Jobs Crisis and Its Implication for the Future of Employment Policy: A Call for a New Jobs Compact. By Thomas A. Kochan
The author proposes a new Jobs Compact to close the nation's jobs deficit, to create sufficient high-quality jobs that will raise wages and end thirty years of wage stagnation, and to update and strengthen labor and employment policies. A set of market and institutional failures are identified as root causes of these problems, and local innovations and policy proposals are suggested for overcoming them. Achieving these objectives will require a stronger voice in national policymaking as well as proactive efforts to mobilize and coordinate the constituencies that share an interest in and responsibility for employment policy and practice. The author calls on the president and the secretary of labor to lead these efforts by mobilizing and engaging business, labor, women, ethnic, community, and education leaders at regional and national levels.
The Effects of Broadband Internet Expansion on Labor Market Outcomes. By Hilal Atasoy
The author analyzes the effects of the expansion of broadband Internet access from 1999 to 2007 on labor market outcomes throughout the United States. Recent federal policy programs have allocated $18 billion toward subsidizing the spread of this technology, especially to rural areas. Understanding the interplay between technology, firms, and the labor market is important for evaluating whether additional scarce government resources should be allocated to improve this type of infrastructure. Using models that include county and time fixed effects, the author finds that gaining access to broadband services in a county is associated with about a 1.8 percentage point increase in the employment rate, with larger effects in rural and isolated areas. Most of the employment gains result from existing firms increasing the scale of their labor demand and from growth in the labor force. These results are consistent with a theoretical model in which broadband technology is complementary to skilled workers, with larger effects among college-educated workers and in industries and occupations that employ more college-educated workers.
Manager Ethnicity and Employment Segregation. By Laura Giuliano and Michael R Ransom
The authors examine the effect of manager ethnicity on the ethnic composition of employment using nine years of personnel records from a regional grocery store chain in the United States. The workforce studied is composed almost entirely of a white majority and large Hispanic minority. Estimating models with store fixed effects, the authors focus on the role of Hispanic ethnicity and examine the effects of manager ethnicity on hiring, transfer, and separation patterns. They compare the effects of manager ethnicity across several types of jobs and find significant effects for hiring patterns but not transfers, and effects for separation patterns in only one atypical case. The authors also find that the effects on hiring occur only in jobs or departments with very few employees.
Why Are So Few Females Promoted into CEO and Vice President Positions? Danish Empirical Evidence, 1997-2007. By Nina Smith, Valdemar Smith, and Mette Verner
The authors estimate the probability of promotion into VP and CEO positions using employer-employee data from all Danish companies observed during the period 1997 to 2007. After controlling for a large number of firm- and family-related variables, including take-up history of maternity and paternity leave and proxies for "female-friendly" companies, a considerable gender gap still exists in the probability of promotion to CEO positions. Part of the gap is due to gender differences in the area of specialization of top executives. Women tend to cluster in VP positions in HR, R&D, and IT areas in which the chances of a CEO promotion are lower than for positions as CFOs and VPs in Sales or Production areas.
Competition, Takeovers, and Gender Discrimination. By Fredrik Heyman, Helena Svaleryd, and Jonas Vlachos
Theories of taste-based discrimination predict that competitive pressures will drive discriminatory behavior out of the market. The authors analyze how firm takeovers and product market competition affect firms' gender composition and gender wage gap using detailed matched employer-employee data. Taking into account several endogeneity concerns while using a difference-in-difference framework, they find that the share of female employees increases as a result of an ownership change when product market competition is weak. Furthermore, a takeover reduces the gender wage gap. Although the estimated effects are small, the results support the main theoretical predictions.
Working in Family Firms: Paid Less But More Secure? Evidence from French Matched Employer-Employee Data. By Andrea Bassanini, Thomas Breda, Eve Caroli, and Antoine Rebérioux
The authors study compensation packages in family- and non-family-owned firms. Using French matched employer-employee data, they first find that family firms pay on average lower wages. Part of this wage gap is due to low-wage workers sorting into family firms and high-wage workers sorting into non-family-owned firms; however, they also find evidence that company wage policies differ according to ownership status, so that the same worker is paid differently under family and non-family firm ownership. In addition, family firms are characterized by lower job insecurity, as measured by lower dismissal rates. Family firms appear to rely less on dismissals, and more on hiring reductions, than do non-family-owned firms when they downsize. Compensating wage differentials account for a substantial part of the inverse relationship between the family/non-family gaps in wages and job security.
Do Unions Promote Members' Electoral Office Holding? Evidence from Correlates of State Legislatures' Occupational Shares. By Aaron J. Sojourner
Controversies over the promise and the perils of union political influence have erupted around the United States. The author develops the first evidence on the degree to which labor unions develop members' political leadership in the broader community by studying the relationship between state legislators' occupations and the unionization rates of occupations across U.S. states. The fraction of legislators of a given occupation in a state increases with the occupation's rate of unionization in that state compared with the fraction of legislators of the same occupation in other states with lower unionization rates. This pattern shows up to varying degrees among the three public-sector and one private-sector occupations considered: K-12 teachers, police officers, fire fighters, and construction workers. The pattern holds conditional on differences in observable state characteristics and when using state fixed effects. Although much research has described the role of unions in influencing economic outcomes and in politics through lobbying, campaign contributions, and voter mobilization, the author adds a new perspective on the role of unions in society. They promote elected political leadership by individuals from working- and middle-class jobs. Arguments over the social value of this role of unions are explored.
The Effects of Unionization on Graduate Student Employees: Faculty-Student Relations, Academic Freedom, and Pay. By Sean E. Rogers, Adrienne E. Eaton, and Paula B. Voos
In cases involving unionization of graduate student research and teaching assistants at private U.S. universities, the National Labor Relations Board has, at times, denied collective bargaining rights on the presumption that unionization would harm faculty-student relations and academic freedom. Using survey data collected from PhD students in five academic disciplines across eight public U.S. universities, the authors compare represented and non-represented graduate student employees in terms of faculty-student relations, academic freedom, and pay. Unionization does not have the presumed negative effect on student outcomes, and in some cases has a positive effect. Union-represented graduate student employees report higher levels of personal and professional support, unionized graduate student employees fare better on pay, and unionized and nonunionized students report similar perceptions of academic freedom. These findings suggest that potential harm to faculty-student relationships and academic freedom should not continue to serve as bases for the denial of collective bargaining rights to graduate student employees.
Does Customer Auditing Help Chinese Workers? By Guojun He and Jeffrey Perloff
The authors of this study find that auditing by downstream firms has limited effects on Chinese firms' adherence to labor standards and other measures of blue-collar worker' well-being. Auditing does not affect the supplier's blue-collar employees' wages, probability of belonging to a union, or likelihood of working overtime. Audited firms, however, are more likely to provide rural migrant workers (who usually face discrimination) with government-sponsored medical insurance, business medical insurance, and unemployment insurance.
Gender, Inequality, and Wages. By Francine D. Blau. Reviewed by Jane Waldfogel.
Pay: Why People Earn What They Earn and What You Can Do Now to Make More. By Kevin F. Hallock. Reviewed by Barry Gerhart.
The Shareholder Value Myth: How Putting Shareholders First Harms Investors, Corporations, and the Public. By Lynn Stout. Reviewed by Adam Kanzer and Cynthia Williams.
Conflicting Commitments: The Politics of Enforcing Immigrant Worker Rights in San Jose and Houston. By Shannon Gleeson. Reviewed by Stephen Lee.
All Together Different: Yiddish Socialists, Garment Workers, and the Labor Roots of Multiculturalism. By Daniel Katz. Reviewed by Annelise Orleck.
Collision Course: Ronald Reagan, the Air Traffic Controllers and the Strike that Changed America. By Joseph A. McArtin. Reviewed by Richard W. Hurd.
First, Do Less Harm: Confronting the Inconvenient Problems of Patient Safety. Edited by Ross Koppel and Suzanne Gordon. Reviewed by Dana Beth Weinberg.