Roundtable on "Improving Employment and Earnings in Twenty-First Century Labor Markets"
Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM
- Chair: Erica Groshen, Cornell University
Making Ends Meet: The Role of Informal Work in Supplementing Americans’ Income
AbstractWe present new evidence on the role of informal work as a source of income for U.S. households. Data from the Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking imply that over the course of a month about a quarter of adults engage in some informal work activity outside of a main job. About two-thirds of those doing informal work say it is to earn money and about one-third say that informal work is an important source of household income. Informal work plays a particularly important role in the household finances of minorities, the less educated, those who report financial hardship, those who work part-time involuntarily, independent contractors, and the unemployed. Although aggregate earnings from informal work may be modest, informal work appears to be important in helping many households make ends meet. It cannot, however, compensate for the lack of benefits commonly associated with part-time and contractor work.
Race in the Labor Market: The Role of Equal Employment Opportunity and Other Policies
AbstractThis paper first reviews recent trends and cross section analysis on racial inequality. It then synthesizes the evidence on the gap's causes and speculates as to how these factors will shape labor markets in the coming years and decades. The paper concludes with a variety of policy recommendations.
The Real Future of Work and Its Policy Needs: A Fissured Workplace Perspective
AbstractThe fissured workplace hypothesis argues that the growth of subcontracting, independent contracting, the use of franchising, and other forms of shifting work out from lead business entities in specific industries and across the economy represents a more fundamental change in business organization and strategy. Firms, seeking to focus on core competency in response to capital market pressures, seek at the same time to shift work to other businesses. However, given the importance of core competency to profitability, they carefully control the outcomes of those entities through a variety of forms of business organization, increasingly enabled by technology (Weil 2014). Because the fissured workplace upends the way that wages are set, less of the value created by businesses is shared with the workforce in the form of higher wages and benefits while more of social risk is shifted towards them. As a result, I will argue that traditional responses to earnings inequality such as education and training as well as proposals like universal basic income provide an incomplete answer to these changes. The paper will explore new approaches to policies in light of these changes.
- J0 - General