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The Role of Labor Market Regulation in Rebuilding Economic Opportunity in the U.S.

Published in Work and Occupations, 39(4):354-75, doi: 10.1177/0730888412445644

21 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2012 Last revised: 15 Jan 2013

Annette Bernhardt

UC Berkeley

Date Written: March 26, 2012

Abstract

In the search for policy solutions to rising inequality and precariousness in the U.S., this essay argues for the central role of labor market regulation. It presents research and policy evidence for a three-pronged approach: (1) strengthening the floor of labor standards (wages, health and safety, and right to organize chief among them); (2) vigorously enforcing that floor; and (3) leveraging government contracting and grants to build a base of good jobs on top of that floor. The essay concludes that getting to scale in the current political climate will require ratcheting up from state and local policy campaigns to federal reform.

Keywords: labor market regulation; public policy; low-wage work; wage theft; government contracting; income inequality; minimum wage

JEL Classification: J31, J38, K31, K32, K42

Suggested Citation

Bernhardt, Annette, The Role of Labor Market Regulation in Rebuilding Economic Opportunity in the U.S. (March 26, 2012). Published in Work and Occupations, 39(4):354-75, doi: 10.1177/0730888412445644. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2029075 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2029075

Annette Bernhardt (Contact Author)

UC Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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