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Labor Economics

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Implications for Education Financing and Economic Policy

The mobility of students in developed countries has dramatically increased over the last fifty years. Students do not necessarily remain in their countries of origin for higher education and work; they might be born in one country, attend university in a second, and find employment in a third.

This landmark graduate-level text combines depth and breadth of coverage with recent, cutting-edge work in all the major areas of modern labor economics. Its command of the literature and its coverage of the latest theoretical, methodological, and empirical developments make it also a valuable resource for practicing labor economists.

Essays in Honor of Michael J. Piore
Edited by Paul Osterman

In Economy in Society, five prominent social scientists honor Michael J. Piore in original essays that explore key topics in Piore’s work and make significant independent contributions in their own right. Piore is distinctive for his original research that explores the interaction of social, political, and economic considerations in the labor market and in the economic development of nations and regions. The essays in this volume reflect this rigorous interdisciplinary approach to important social and economic questions.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, Soviet Jews emigrated in large numbers to Israel. Over the next ten years, Israel absorbed approximately 900,000 immigrants from the former Soviet Union, an influx that equaled about twenty percent of the Israeli population. Most of these new immigrants of working age were college-educated and highly skilled. Once in Israel, they were eligible for a generous package of benefits, including housing subsidies, Hebrew language training, and vocational education.

Full employment used to be an explicit goal of economic policy in most of the industrialized world. Some countries even achieved it. In Back to Full Employment, economist Robert Pollin argues that the United States--today faced with its highest level of unemployment since the Great Depression--should put full employment back on the agenda.

A New Keynesian Perspective

The past fifteen years have witnessed the rise of the New Keynesian model as a framework of reference for the analysis of fluctuations and stabilization policies. That framework, which combines the rigor and internal consistency of dynamic general equilibrium models with such typically Keynesian assumptions as monopolistic competition and nominal rigidities, makes possible a meaningful, welfare-based analysis of the effects of monetary policy rules.

In The Minimum Wage and Labor Market Outcomes, Christopher Flinn argues that in assessing the effects of the minimum wage (in the United States and elsewhere), a behavioral framework is invaluable for guiding empirical work and the interpretation of results. Flinn develops a job search and wage bargaining model that is capable of generating labor market outcomes consistent with observed wage and unemployment duration distributions, and also can account for observed changes in employment rates and wages after a minimum wage change.

Minimum wages exist in more than one hundred countries, both industrialized and developing. The United States passed a federal minimum wage law in 1938 and has increased the minimum wage and its coverage at irregular intervals ever since; in addition, as of the beginning of 2008, thirty-two states and the District of Columbia had established a minimum wage higher than the federal level, and numerous other local jurisdictions had in place "living wage" laws.

Black-, Asian-, and White-Owned Businesses in the United States

Thirteen million people in the United States--roughly one in ten workers--own a business. And yet rates of business ownership among African Americans are much lower and have been so throughout the twentieth century. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, businesses owned by African Americans tend to have lower sales, fewer employees and smaller payrolls, lower profits, and higher closure rates. In contrast, Asian American-owned businesses tend to be more successful.

Microeconomic Structure and Macroeconomic Implications

In the early 1990s, trade and labor economists, noting the fall in wages for low-skilled workers relative to high-skilled workers, began to debate the impact of trade on wages. This debate—which led to a sometimes heated exchange on the role of trade versus the role of technological change in explaining wage movements—continues today, with the focus now shifting to workers in the middle of the wage distribution.

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