Faculty Directors

It’s Where You Work: Increases in the Dispersion of Earnings across Establishments and Individuals in the United States.
Erling Barth, Alex Bryson, James C. Davis, and Richard B. Freeman. 2016. “It’s Where You Work: Increases in the Dispersion of Earnings across Establishments and Individuals in the United States.” Journal of Labor Economics, Special Issue dedicated to Edward Lazear, 34, S2, Pp. S67-S97. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This paper analyzes the role of establishments in the upward trend in dispersion of earnings that has become a central topic in economic analysis and policy debate. It decomposes changes in the variance of log earnings among individuals into the part due to changes in earnings among establishments and the part due to changes in earnings within establishments. The main finding is that much of the 1970s–2010s increase in earnings inequality results from increased dispersion of the earnings among the establishments where individuals work. Our results direct attention to the role of establishment-level pay setting and economic adjustments in earnings inequality.

“How Does Declining Unionism Affect the American Middle Class and Inter-generational Mobility?”
Richard B. Freeman, Eunice Han, Brendan Duke, and David Madland. 2016. ““How Does Declining Unionism Affect the American Middle Class and Inter-generational Mobility?”” Federal Reserve Bank, 2015 Community Development Research Conference Publication.Abstract
This paper examines unionism’s relationship to the size of the middle class and its
relationship to intergenerational mobility. Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) 1985
and 2011 files are used to examine the change in the share of workers in a middle-income
group (defined by persons having incomes within 50 percent of the median) and use a
shift-share decomposition to explore how the decline of unionism contributes to the
shrinking middle class. The files are also used to investigate the correlation between
parents’ union status and the incomes of their children. Additionally, federal income tax
data is used to examine the geographical correlation between union density and
intergenerational mobility. Findings include that union workers are disproportionately in
the middle-income group or above, and some reach middle-income status due to the
union wage premium; the offspring of union parents have higher incomes than the
offspring of otherwise comparable non-union parents, especially when the parents are
low-skilled; and offspring from communities with higher union density have higher
average incomes relative to their parents compared to offspring from communities with
lower union density. These findings show a strong, though not necessarily causal, link
between unions, the middle class, and intergenerational mobility. 
The Effects of Scientists and Engineers on Productivity and Earnings at the Establishment Where They Work
Erling Barth, James C. Davis, Richard B. Freeman, and Andrew J. Wang. 6/2017. “The Effects of Scientists and Engineers on Productivity and Earnings at the Establishment Where They Work.” National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper, No. 23484. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This paper uses linked establishment-firm-employee data to examine the relationship between the scientists and engineers proportion (SEP) of employment, and productivity and labor earnings. We show that: (1) most scientists and engineers in industry are employed in establishments producing goods or services, and do not perform research and development (R&D); (2) productivity is higher in manufacturing establishments with higher SEP, and increases with increases in SEP; (3) employee earnings are higher in manufacturing establishments with higher SEP, and increase substantially for employees who move to establishments with higher SEP, but only modestly for employees within an establishment when SEP increases in the establishment. The results suggest that the work of scientists and engineers in goods and services producing establishments is an important pathway for increasing productivity and earnings, separate and distinct from the work of scientists and engineers who perform R&D.
Richard Freeman

China’s “Great Leap Forward” in Science and Engineering

June 20, 2017

in Vox China
By Richard Freeman, LWP Faculty Director, Professor, Harvard University 

"This essay argues that because of its huge population, China’s Great Leap Forward in science and engineering has the magnitude (Freeman and Huang, 2015) mindful of the United States’ post-World War II ascendance in global science. China’s economic impact should put to rest debates over whether a one-party state with a sometimes overweening government can be truly innovative (Wei, Xie, and Zhang, 2017). As long as China’s eye is on the prize of knowledge, it will be a global leader in innovation in the next decade. "

Paul Weiler

Paul C. Weiler

In Memoriam
Faculty Director Emeritus, Labor and Worklife Program
Professor Emeritus, Harvard Law School

Paul Weiler (1939-2021) was the Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law (Emeritus). He earned a Bachelor and Master of Arts from the University of Toronto in 1960 and 1961 respectively. He received his LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1964 and his LL.M. from Harvard Law School in 1965. Professor Weiler joined the Harvard Law School Faculty in 1993. He was a widely published expert in labour law, sports law, and tort.

htup75_freeman_ruskin.jpg

"Conversation on Automation and Robots" Harry Bridges (Ian Ruskin), and Richard Freeman

Pages