Labor Mobility and Economic Opportunity
From the Preface: This volume is a cooperative venture to make generally available the results of intensive research and thought over many years at half a dozen leading university research centers. The conceptual and statistical analysis of the major general attributes of labor mobility by Philip M. Hauser, based upon his work at the University of Chicago and earlier in the U. S. Bureau of the Census, provides an effective background for the interpretation of the subsequent essays. The principal findings of a series of pioneering studies undertaken at the University of Pennsylvania, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Minnesota are presented by Gladys L. Palmer, Charles A. Myers, and Dale Yoder. Impediments to Labor mobility are discussed by Clark Kerr in his chapter on "The Balkanization of Labor Markets," and important interpretations of certain crucial problems relating to the future flexibility of the American economy are given in Gladys Palmer's essay on "Social Values in Labor Mobility." These considerations, and others, are summarized in challenging fashion by E. Wight Bakke in the essay that introduces the entire volume.
The suggestion that this volume be prepared grew out of the research planning discussions of the Committee on Labor Market Research of the Social Science Research Council. The authors are members of the Committee, which has been concerned for some years with the identification and encouragement of basic research on the behavior of labor markets. Particularly intensive efforts have been directed by the Committee to the analysis of the factors affecting occupational, industrial, and geographic mobility in individual labor markets and for specific groups in the labor supply. In the course of these efforts the Committee has sponsored a major study of patterns and factors in labor mobility in six cities and a technical appraisal of research developments relating to labor mobility, both of which will be published by the Social Science Research Council. These undertakings and other related research have been subjected to thorough review and criticism at sundry research conferences held under the Committee's auspices, and these disucssions have in turn been reflected in the research of the Committee's own members and their associates. It seems timely, therefore, to bring together the results of certain of their studies and of their current thinking as a progress report on this significant phase of labor and industrial relations research.—Paul Webbink