Low-Wage Employment in America: Results from a Set of Recent Industry Case Studies

Posted: 29 Feb 2008

See all articles by Richard J. Murnane

Richard J. Murnane

Harvard University - Harvard Graduate School of Education; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Eileen Appelbaum

Center for Economic and Policy Research

Jeremy A. Weinberg

Russell Sage Foundation

Date Written: May 2005

Abstract

Data from national surveys show the dramatic changes that have taken place in the US wage structure over the past three decades. However, these data provide only very limited information about the complex reasons why those changes have occurred and why there is significant variation in the wages of workers with similar education levels employed in similar industries. Industry case studies, on the other hand, document how firms` responses to economic pressures have affected working conditions, work rules, productivity pressures, skill requirements, and opportunities for training and advancement for workers with less than a 4-year college education. This paper reviews a series of recent case studies on low-wage employment in America funded by the Russell Sage and Rockefeller Foundations, and examines how pressures to cut costs have affected firms` treatment of frontline workers.

JEL Classification: J3, J5, M51, and M54

Suggested Citation

Murnane, Richard J. and Appelbaum, Eileen and Weinberg, Jeremy A., Low-Wage Employment in America: Results from a Set of Recent Industry Case Studies (May 2005). Socio-Economic Review, Vol. 3, pp. 293-310, , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=811465

Richard J. Murnane (Contact Author)

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Eileen Appelbaum (Contact Author)

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Jeremy A. Weinberg (Contact Author)

Russell Sage Foundation ( email )

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