September 15, 2005
New NBER Reports
The 2004 Global Labor Survey: Workplace Institutions and Practices Around the World by Davin Chor, Richard B. Freeman - #11598
The 2004 Global Labor Survey (GLS) is an Internet-based survey that seeks to measure de facto labor practices in countries around the world, covering issues such as freedom of association, the regulation of work contracts, employee benefits and the prevalence of collective bargaining. To find out about de facto practices, the GLS invited labor practitioners, ranging from union officials and activists to professors of labor law and industrial relations, to report on conditions in their country. Over 1,500 persons responded, which allowed us to create indices of practices in ten broad areas for 33 countries. The GLS' focus on de facto labor practices contrasts with recent studies of de jure labor regulations (Botero et al., 2004) and with more limited efforts to measure labor practices as part of surveys of economic freedom (Fraser Institute) and competitiveness (World Economic Forum). Although our pool of respondents differs greatly from the conservative foundations and business leaders who contribute respectively to the Fraser Institute and World Economic Forum reports, the GLS and the labor market components of the economic freedom and competitiveness measures give similar pictures of labor practices across countries. This similarity across respondents with different economic interests and ideological perspectives suggests that they are all reporting on labor market realities in a relatively unbiased way. As a broad summary statement, the GLS shows that practices favorable to workers are more prevalent in countries with high levels of income per capita; are associated with less income inequality; are unrelated to aggregate growth rates; but are modestly positively associated with unemployment.
Workplace Segregation in the United States: Race, Ethnicity, and Skill by Judith Hellerstein, David Neumark - #11599
We study workplace segregation in the United States using a unique matched employer-employee data set that we have created. We present measures of workplace segregation by education and language--as skilled workers may be more complementary with other skilled workers than with unskilled workers--and by race and ethnicity, using simulation methods to measure segregation beyond what would occur randomly as workers are distributed across establishments. We also assess the role of education- and language-related skill differentials in generating workplace segregation by race and ethnicity, as skill is often correlated with race and ethnicity.
Finally, we attempt to distinguish between segregation by skill based on general crowding of unskilled poor English speakers into a narrow set of jobs, and segregation based on common language for reasons such as complementarity among workers speaking the same language. Our results indicate that there is considerable segregation by education and language in the workplace. Racial segregation in the workplace is of the same order of magnitude as education segregation, and segregation between Hispanics and whites is larger yet. Only a tiny portion of racial segregation in the workplace is driven by education differences between blacks and whites, but a substantial fraction of ethnic segregation in the workplace can be attributed to differences in language proficiency.
Building the Stock of College-Educated Labor
by Susan Dynarski - #11604
Half of college students drop out before completing a degree. These low rates of college completion among young people should be viewed in the context of slow future growth in the educated labor force, as the well-educated baby boomers retire and new workers are drawn from populations with historically low education levels. This paper establishes a causal link between college costs and the share of workers with a college education. I exploit the introduction of two large tuition subsidy programs, finding that they increase the share of the population that completes a college degree by three percentage points. The effects are strongest among women, with white women increasing degree receipt by 3.2 percentage points and the share of nonwhite women attempting or completing any years of college increasing by six and seven percentage points, respectively. A cost-benefit analysis indicates that tuition reduction can be a socially efficient method for increasing college completion. However, even with the offer of free tuition, a large share of students continue to drop out, suggesting that the direct costs of school are not the only impediment to college completion.
Native Internal Migration and the Labor Market Impact of Immigration by George J. Borjas - #11610
This paper presents a theoretical and empirical study of how immigration influences the joint determination of the wage structure and internal migration behavior for native-born workers in local labor markets. Using data from the 1960-2000 decennial censuses, the study shows that immigration is associated with lower in-migration rates, higher out-migration rates, and a decline in the growth rate of the native workforce. The native migration response attenuates the measured impact of immigration on wages in a local labor market by 40 to 60 percent, depending on whether the labor market is defined at the state or metropolitan area level.
- Joe Hodnicki
September 12, 2005
Roberts on Labor Law
H.J. Cummins reports on Roberts' labor law track record for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.