Faculty Directors

U.S. Engineering in a Global Economy: National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report
5/4/2018. U.S. Engineering in a Global Economy: National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report, Pp. 320. University of Chicago Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Since the late 1950s, the engineering job market in the United States has been fraught with fears of a shortage of engineering skill and talent. U.S. Engineering in a Global Economy brings clarity to issues of supply and demand in this important market. Following a general overview of engineering-labor market trends, the volume examines the educational pathways of undergraduate engineers and their entry into the labor market, the impact of engineers working in firms on productivity and innovation, and different dimensions of the changing engineering labor market, from licensing to changes in demand and guest worker programs.

The volume provides insights on engineering education, practice, and careers that can inform educational institutions, funding agencies, and policy makers about the challenges facing the United States in developing its engineering workforce in the global economy.
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Can a Mad Max dystopia be stopped? Ex-RTP entrepreneur Wadhwa to find out at Harvard

April 13, 2018

by Rick Smith 
WRAL Tech Wire

Vivek Wadhwa has been named a Distinguished Fellow with the Labor and Worklife program at Harvard Law School “to help with what I consider to be the most important research project of our times: to understand the impact of technology on jobs and develop policies to mitigate the dangers.”

Reached by WRAL TechWire, Wadhwa says the project is “something that [economist] Richard Freeman and I have long been discussing. There is anecdotal evidence automation is affecting jobs but not enough hard research.”... Read more about Can a Mad Max dystopia be stopped? Ex-RTP entrepreneur Wadhwa to find out at Harvard

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The emerging plan to save the American labor movement

April 9, 2018

By Dylan Matthews
Vox

The Trump era has sparked some of the most creative thinking in labor in years.

“Sectoral bargaining is certainly getting more attention in legal academic and labor law policy debates,” Benjamin Sachs, a professor at Harvard Law School and former practicing labor lawyer, says. “The way I would think about it is that there’s an existential panic about what will happen to the labor movement. That’s not new, it’s just getting worse. … If we need unions for economic and political equality as I think we do...

Read more about The emerging plan to save the American labor movement
2018 Mar 28

Charting the Future of Labor Policy

12:00pm

Location: 

WCC Milstein West A, Harvard Law School

Current affairs are full of stories of labor law in practice – professional athletes kneeling during the national anthem, or a bicyclist being fired for gesturing at the presidential motorcade.  Join us for this informal and lively discussion with HLS experts presented by HLS Joint Council.

Panelists include: Sharon Block, Executive Director of LWP and Benjamin Sachs, Kestnbaum Professor of Labor and Industry at Harvard Law School.

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Leading Questions podcast – new episode with Professor Benjamin Sachs, on labor law being everywhere

January 24, 2018

Posted by Evelyn Douek
in Podcast , The Harvard Law Record

Evelyn and Hannah sit down with Professor Benjamin Sachs, the Kestnbaum Professor of Labor and Industry at Harvard Law School, to learn about how labor and employment law is everywhere in your lives and the news, even if you don’t always see it, get some great movie recommendations and an interesting productivity tip.

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The Trump administration is abandoning McDonald’s workers — and everyone else

February 9, 2018

By Sharon Block and Benjamin Sachs
Washington Post

For the past three years, the federal government has painstakingly built a case against the world’s second-largest private employer, McDonald’s, charging the company with illegally harassing and terminating employees who have gone on strike with the “Fight for $15″ campaign.

 

Last month, shortly before the trial was expected to conclude, Peter Robb, the general counsel Trump appointed to the NLRB, announced that he wanted to halt the trial to settle the case with McDonald’s and its franchisees.

Settling a case might not sound so bad. But in this instance, “settling” is a euphemism for abandoning at the 11th hour a groundbreaking inquiry into whether a major employer like McDonald’s should be held accountable for violating the rights of its low-paid workers.... Read more about The Trump administration is abandoning McDonald’s workers — and everyone else

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Local landmark

February 8, 2018

By Scott Reeder
Illinois Times

Janus doesn’t belong to the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees but must pay about $500 of the $70,000 he earns a year to the union in what are called “agency” or “fair share” fees. On Feb. 26 the United States Supreme Court will hear his case. At stake is whether government workers should, as a condition of employment, be compelled to pay money to a union. 

“I would say this case has the potential to be a landmark case,” Harvard University Law Professor Benjamin Sachs told Illinois Times. “Essentially, if the court rules in Mr. Janus’ favor, it would put every government worker in the United States under a right-to-work regime.”... Read more about Local landmark

Willingness to Pay for Clean Air in China
Richard Freeman, Wenquan Liang, Ran Song, and Christopher Timmins. 12/2017. “Willingness to Pay for Clean Air in China”. NBER Working PaperAbstract
We develop a residential sorting model incorporating migration disutility to recover the implicit value of clean air in China. The model is estimated using China Population Census Data along with PM2.5 satellite data. Our study provides new evidence on the willingness to pay for air quality improvement in developing countries and is the first application of an equilibrium sorting model to the valuation of non-market amenities in China. We employ two novel instrumental variables based on coal-fired electricity generation and wind direction to address the endogeneity of local air pollution. Results suggest important differences between the residential sorting model and a conventional hedonic model, highlighting the role of moving costs and the discreteness of the choice set. Our sorting results indicate that the economic value of air quality improvement associated with a one-unit decline in PM2.5 concentration is up to $8.83 billion for all Chinese households in 2005.
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Europe could have the secret to saving America’s unions

April 17, 2017

By Dylan Matthews
The Vox

Labor unions in America are in crisis. In the mid-1950s, a third of Americans belonged to a labor union. Today only 10.7 percent do, including a minuscule 6.4 percent of private sector workers. The decline of union membership explains as much as a third of the increase in inequality in the US, caused voter turnout among low-income workers to crater, and weakened labor’s ability to check corporate influence in Washington, DC, and state capitals.

The future for traditional unions looks so bleak that a growing number of labor scholars and activists are coming to the conclusion that the US approach is dead and can’t be revived.

Benjamin Sachs, a professor at Harvard Law School and former practicing labor lawyer, says, “The way I would think about it is that there’s an existential panic about what will happen to the labor movement. That’s not new, it’s just getting worse. … If we need unions for economic and political equality as I think we do, we have to do something to stop that downward spiral.”

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36 prominent economists, including 3 Nobel laureates, explain to the Supreme Court why the anti-union position in Janus is simply wrong as a matter of basic economics

January 18, 2018

Economic Policy Institute (EPI) Press Release

Thirty-six distinguished economists and professors of law and economics including three Nobel laureates, two recipients of the American Economic Association’s prestigious John Bates Clark Medal, and two past presidents of the American Economic Association filed an amici curiae brief to assist the Supreme Court in understanding the free-rider problem at issue in Janus v. AFSCME.

Richard B. Freeman, who holds the Herbert Ascherman Chair in Economics at Harvard University, and is currently serving as Faculty co-Director of the Labor and Worklife Program at the Harvard Law School, was on of the 36 signers. 

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