January Issue of ILR Review Now Online

ILR Review Volume: 72, Number: 1 (January 2019)

Please check out the following recent publications in the January 2019 issue of the ILR review.


Final Article in the ILR Review 70th Anniversary Series

Worker Voice in America: Is There a Gap between What Workers Expect and What They Experience?

Thomas A. Kochan, Duanyi Yang, William T. Kimball, and Erin L. Kelly

Abstract:  This article is the fifth in a series to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the ILR Review. The series features articles that analyze the state of research and future directions for important themes this journal has featured over many years of publication.

The decline in unionization experienced in the United States over the past 40 years raises a question of fundamental importance to workers, society, and the field of industrial relations: Have workers lost interest in having a voice at work, or is there a gap between workers’ expectations for a voice and what they actually experience? And if a “voice gap” exists, what options are available to workers to close that gap? The authors draw on a nationally representative survey of workers that both updates previous surveys conducted in 1977 and 1995 and goes beyond the scope of these previous efforts to consider a wider array of workplace issues and voice options. Results indicate that workers believe they should have a voice on a broad set of workplace issues, but substantial gaps exist between their expected and their actual level of voice at work. Nearly 50% of non-union workers say they would vote for a union, compared to approximately one-third in the two prior national surveys, which points to continued interest in unions as a voice mechanism. Additionally, the authors find significant variation in the rates of use of different voice options and workers’ satisfaction with those options. The results suggest that a sizable voice gap exists in American workplaces today, but at the same time, no one voice option fits all workers or all issues.



Too Good to Be True? A Comment on Hall and Krueger’s Analysis of the Labor Market for Uber’s Driver-Partners

Janine Berg and Hannah Johnston

Abstract:  In their comment on the article on Uber driver-partners by Jonathan Hall and Alan Krueger, the authors analyze the article’s methodological problems, including sample bias, leading questions, selective reporting of findings, and an overestimation of driver earnings, which do not account for the full range of job-related expenses and is based on outdated data. The authors also argue that Hall and Krueger make unsubstantiated claims that extend beyond the scope of their research and ignore a rapidly growing literature that is critical of the Uber model as well as the broader for-hire vehicle industry in which Uber operates. As policymakers grapple with how to respond to transport network companies, the authors argue that a fuller understanding of the costs and benefits of services such as Uber is critical for making informed policies.


Reply to the Comment by Berg and Johnston

Jonathan V. Hall and Alan B. Krueger

Abstract: [n/a]


The Autonomy Paradox: How Night Work Undermines Subjective Well-Being of Internet-Based Freelancers

Andrey Shevchuk, Denis Strebkov, and Shannon N. Davis

Abstract:  Nonstandard work schedules have important consequences for workers in the new economy. Using unique data on the work times of Internet-based freelancers, specifically, self-employed professionals participating in a Russian-language online labor market (N = 4,280), the authors find that working at night has adverse effects on workers’ subjective well-being as measured by satisfaction with work–life balance, life satisfaction, and emotional exhaustion. Night work has differential effects on freelancers’ well-being based on gender, partnership status, and caregiving responsibilities. Highlighting the autonomy paradox, the authors’ findings document how freelancers’ discretionary application of a flexible schedule to work at night consequently undermines their well-being.


Locate Your Nearest Exit: Mass Layoffs and Local Labor Market Response

Andrew Foote, Michel Grosz, and Ann Stevens

Abstract:  Large shocks to local labor markets can cause long-lasting changes to employment, unemployment, and the local labor force. This study examines the relationship between mass layoffs and the long-run size of the local labor force. The authors consider four main channels through which the local labor force may adjust: in-migration, out-migration, retirement, and disability insurance enrollment. These channels, primarily out-migration, account for more than half of the labor force reduction over the past two decades. Findings show, however, that during and after the Great Recession, instead of out-migration, non-participation in the labor force grew to account for most of the local labor force exits following a mass layoff.


Before It Gets Better: The Short-Term Employment Costs of Regulatory Reforms

Andrea Bassanini and Federico Cingano

Abstract:  The article exploits long time series of industry-level data in a group of OECD countries to analyze the short-term labor market effects of reforms that lower barriers to entry and dismissal costs. Estimates show that both policies induce non-negligible transitory employment losses. The strength of these effects varies depending on the underlying industry and labor market structure, and on cyclical conditions: The employment cost of deregulation is higher in economic downturns and negligible in good times. These findings prove robust to a set of specification and sensitivity checks and are confirmed after standard reverse causality and falsification tests.


Resolving Discrimination Complaints in Employment Arbitration: An Analysis of the Experience in the Securities Industry

Ryan Lamare and David B. Lipsky

Abstract:  This article empirically examines whether employment discrimination claims differ from other types of disputes resolved through arbitration. Whether arbitration is appropriate for resolving violations of anti-discrimination statutes at work is a focus of ongoing policy debates. Yet empirical scholarship has rarely considered whether different types of complaints might have distinct characteristics and receive varied outcomes in arbitration. The authors analyze all of the employment arbitration awards for cases filed between 1991 and 2006 in the financial services industry to determine whether differences in the type of allegation affect award outcomes. They also examine the effects of the financial industry’s decision in 1999 to introduce voluntary arbitration for discrimination claims. Results indicate that discrimination claims largely fared worse in arbitration than did other statutory or non-statutory claims but that arbitration systems are capable of meaningful self-reform.


Experimental Evidence on the Long-Term Effects of a Youth Training Program

Pablo Ibarrarán, Jochen Kluve, Laura Ripani, and David Rosas Shady

Abstract:  Identifying the right human capital investments for disadvantaged youths is a key policy concern worldwide, yet almost no rigorous evidence on the long-run effects of these investments exists outside the United States. The authors present a large-scale randomized controlled trial of a youth training program, estimating effects six years after random assignment from a representative sample of more than 3,200 youths. The intervention is prototypical of training programs worldwide and is implemented at scale in the Dominican Republic. Empirical findings indicate, on the one hand, significant effects on formal employment, particularly for men, and on earnings for both men and women in Santo Domingo. On the other hand, no significant effects on overall average employment are evident.


Do Field Experiments on Labor and Housing Markets Overstate Discrimination? A Re-examination of the Evidence

David Neumark and Judith Rich

Abstract:  Since 2000, more than 80 field experiments across 23 countries consider the traditional dimensions of discrimination in labor and housing markets—such as discrimination based on race. These studies nearly always find evidence of discrimination against minorities. The estimates of discrimination in these studies can be biased, however, if there is differential variation in the unobservable determinants of productivity or in the quality of majority and minority groups. It is possible that this experimental literature as a whole overstates the evidence of discrimination. The authors re-assess the evidence from the 10 existing studies of discrimination that have sufficient information to correct for this bias. For the housing market studies, the estimated effect of discrimination is robust to this correction. For the labor market studies, by contrast, the evidence is less robust, as just over half of the estimates of discrimination fall to near zero, become statistically insignificant, or change sign.


Book Reviews

Where Bad Jobs Are Better: Retail Jobs Across Countries and Companies

By Françoise Carré and Chris Tilly. Reviewed by David Weil.


Humans as a Service: The Promise and Perils of Work in the Gig Economy

By Jeremias Prassl. Reviewed by Louis Hyman.


The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder: Labor’s Last Best Weapon

By David Webber. Reviewed by Tessa Hebb.


Temp: How American Work, American Business, and the American Dream Became Temporary

By Louis Hyman. Reviewed by Peter Cappelli.


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