The American labor market faces many deep-rooted problems, including persistence of a large low-wage sector, worsening inequality in earnings, employees' lack of voice in the workplace, and the need of employers to maximize flexibility if they are to survive in an increasingly competitive market. The impetus for this book is the absence of a serious national debate about these issues.
The book represents nearly three years of deliberation by more than 250 people drawn from business, labor, community groups, academia, and government. It traces today's labor-market policy and laws back to the New Deal and to a second wave of social regulation that began in the 1960s. Underlying the current system are assumptions about who is working, what workers do, and how much job security workers enjoy. Economic and social changes have rendered those assumptions invalid and have resulted in mismatches between labor institutions and efficient and equitable deployment of the workforce, as well as between commitments to the labor market and family responsibilities. This book should launch a national dialogue on how to update our policies and institutions to catch up with the changes in the nature of work, in the workforce, and in the economy.
Production in the Innovation Economy emerges from several years of interdisciplinary research at MIT on the links between manufacturing and innovation in the United States and the world economy. (This ambitious research project is described in Making in America: From Innovation to Market, also published in 2013 by the MIT Press.) Authors from political science, economics, business, employment and operations research, aeronautics and astronautics, mechanical engineering, and nuclear engineering come together to explore the extent to which manufacturing is key to an innovative and vibrant economy.
Chapters include survey research on gaps in worker skill development and training; discussions of coproduction with Chinese firms and participation in complex manufacturing projects in China; analyses of constraints facing American start-up firms involved in manufacturing; proposals for a future of distributed manufacturing and a focus on product variety as a marker of innovation; and forecasts of powerful advanced manufacturing technologies on the horizon. The chapters show that although the global distribution of manufacturing is not an automatic loss for the United States, gains from the colocation of manufacturing and innovation have not disappeared. The book emphasizes public policy that encourages colocation through, for example, training programs, supplements to private capital, and interfirm cooperation in industry consortia. Such approaches can help the United States not only to maintain manufacturing capacity but also, crucially, to maximize its innovative potential.
Contributors Joyce Lawrence, Richard K. Lester, Richard M. Locke, Florian Metzler, Jonas Nahm, Paul Osterman, Elisabeth B. Reynolds, Donald B. Rosenfeld, Hiram M. Samel, Sanjay E. Sarma, Edward S. Steinfeld, Andrew Weaver, Rachel L. Wellhausen, Olivier de Weck
To address contemporary issues, industrial relations as a field of study will have to take an increasingly international and comparative dimension.
Accordingly, Employment Relations in a Changing World Economy looks at the critical role employment relations play in firm performance and industry competitiveness worldwide. The essays employ a common framework to examine changes in the employment practices of eleven OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Austria, and Japan. They constitute the first phase in a large ongoing project at the Center for Industrial Performance at MIT to update our understanding of comparative industrial relations and human resource policies.
The authors, scholars in economics, political science, sociology, industrial relations and law, first identify a representative set of employment practices and then look at the outcomes of those practices and the changes they are undergoing across different national settings. By collaborating, the contributors seek to clarify the dynamics of employment relations across the world today, and to set the terms of reference for a new generation of international-comparative employment research.