Journal Article - academic

2022
Ashley Nunes, Lucas Woodley, and Philip Rossetti. 4/4/2022. “Re-thinking procurement incentives for electric vehicles to achieve net-zero emissions.” Nature Sustainability.Abstract

Procurement incentives are a widely leveraged policy lever to stimulate electric vehicle (EV) sales. However, their effectiveness in reducing transportation emissions depends on the behavioural characteristics of EV adopters. When an EV is used, under what conditions and by whom dictates whether or not these vehicles can deliver emissions reductions. Here, we document that replacing gasoline powered vehicles with EVs may—depending on behavioural characteristics—increase, not decrease, emissions. We further show that counterfactual vehicle inventory—how many vehicles a household would own absent an EV purchase—is an important influencer of these effects. We conclude that achieving emissions reductions using EVs requires redesigning procurement incentive programmes in a manner that (re)distributes incentives towards the second-hand EV market. Doing so would not only facilitate emissions reductions but also address fiscal prudency and regressivity concerns associated with these programmes.

2020
MISCLASSIFICATION IN CONSTRUCTION: THE ORIGINAL GIG ECONOMY
Mark Erlich. 11/26/2020. “MISCLASSIFICATION IN CONSTRUCTION: THE ORIGINAL GIG ECONOMY.” ILR Review. Download PaperAbstract
The misclassification of employees as independent contractors has been the focus of recent attention as a result of the implementation of that employment model by ride-share and other gig employers. But the practice long predates the emergence of the gig economy, particularly in the construction industry. This article traces the history of misclassification in construction and the subsequent emergence of a cash-based underground system of compensation, which have lowered standards and been among the major causes of the decline of union density in the industry. In addition, the author examines the regulatory environment at the federal level, which has largely enabled misclassification as well as attempts by state agencies to adopt more aggressive enforcement policies.
2018
Labor Provisions in Trade Agreements (LABPTA): Introducing a New Dataset
Damian Raess and Dora Sari. 8/3/2018. “Labor Provisions in Trade Agreements (LABPTA): Introducing a New Dataset.” Global Policy. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Global labor policy through trade has begun to receive growing attention with the inclusion of labor provisions in preferential trade agreements (PTAs). Until recently there has been a shortage of available data that would adequately capture the variation that exists with respect to the scope and stringency of labor provisions, preventing scholars and practitioners from addressing key questions about the design and effects of the trade‐labor linkage. This paper introduces a new dataset covering 487 PTAs from 1990 to 2015 coded against 140 distinct items pertaining to six main categories, presenting – to our knowledge – the most rigorous and fine‐grained mapping of labor provisions. It also offers the first systematic description of key trends in the design and occurrence of those commitments. Our study shows that labor provisions have not only expanded in terms of their content and participating countries but that labor provisions have, although to a varying degree, also become more stringent over time. The provisions that have across all PTAs increased most steadily are the ones related to the institutional framework set up for the monitoring and implementation of labor commitments, becoming more specialized and more inclusive of third party involvement over time.

Comment on data set: Elliott, K. A. (2019), Assessing Trade–Labor Linkages: A Big Step Forward. Glob Policy, 10: 151-152. doi:10.1111/1758-5899.12644

Protecting labor rights in preferential trade agreements: The role of trade unions, left governments, and skilled labor
Damian Raess, Andreas Dür, and Dora Sari. 3/6/2018. “Protecting labor rights in preferential trade agreements: The role of trade unions, left governments, and skilled labor.” The Review of International Organizations. Publisher's Version
David Kucera and Dora Sari. 3/2018. ““New Labour Rights Indicators: Method and Trends for 2000-2015”.” International Labour Review. DataAbstract
The Labour Rights Indicators are based on coding the findings of selected nine sources and compiling this information in a readily accessible and concise manner. It is designed to be used both by practitioners and researchers. It builds on five basic elements: the premises of definitional validity, reproducibility and transparency; the 108 violation type used to code violations in law and practice; the textual sources selected for coding; the general and source-specific coding rules; and the rules to convert the coded information into normalized indicators. The country profiles provide detailed and verifiable information over time that can be easily traced back to the original textual source.
2016
Benjamin I. Sachs. 2/2016. “ Introduction: Labor Scholarship in an Era of Uncertainty.” Theoretical Inquiries in Law, Vol. 17, 1, Pp. 1-11. Publisher's Version
“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. 
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.

2015
Richard B. Freeman and Xiaoying Li. 12/2015. “How Does China’s New Labor Contract Law Affect Floating Workers?” British Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 53, 4, Pp. 711-735. PDF VersionAbstract
China’s new Labor Contract Law took effect on January 2008 and required firms to give migrant workers written contracts, strengthened labor protections for workers and contained penalties for firms that did not follow the labor code. This paper uses survey data of migrant workers in the Pearl River Delta before and after the law and a retrospective question on when workers received their first labor contract to assess the effects of the law on labor outcomes. The evidence shows that the new law increased the percentage of migrant workers with written contracts, which in turn raised social insurance coverage, reduced the likelihood of wage arrears, and raised the likelihood that the worker had a union at their workplace.
'What Part of 'Illegal' Don't You Understand?' Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal
John Trumpbour. 11/16/2015. “'What Part of 'Illegal' Don't You Understand?' Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal.” New Labor Forum, Vol. 24, 3.
Richard B. Freeman. 6/24/2015. “Knowledge, Knowledge. Knowledge for My Economy.” KDI Journal of Economic Policy, vol. 37, (2), Pp. 1-21. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The creation of S&T knowledge and development of S&T- based innovation has spread worldwide from traditionally advanced countries to traditionally developing countries, often under the direction of governments. Korea is an exemplar in this new locus. 
Political Entrenchment and Public Law
Benjamin I. Sachs and Daryl Levinson. 2015. “Political Entrenchment and Public Law.” Yale Law Journal, Vol. 125, Pp. 400. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Courts and legal scholars have long been concerned with the problem of "entrenchment" -the ways that incumbents insulate themselves and their favored policies from the normal processes of democratic change. But this wide swath of case law and scholarship has focused nearly exclusively on formal entrenchment: the legal rules governing elections, the processes for enacting and repealing legislation, and the methods of constitutional adoption and amendment. This Article demonstrates that political actors also entrench themselves and their policies through an array of functional alternatives. By enacting substantive policies that strengthen political allies or weaken political opponents, by shifting the composition of the political community, or by altering the structure of political decision making, political actors can achieve the same entrenching results without resorting to the kinds of formal rule changes that raise red flags. Recognizing the continuity of formal and functional entrenchment forces us to consider why public law condemns the former while ignoring or pardoning the latter. Appreciating the prevalence of functional entrenchment also raises a broader set of questions about when impediments to political change should be viewed as democratically pathological and how we should distinguish entrenchment from ordinary democratic politics.
2014
'Reform' of the United States and Brazilian Retirement Systems for Federal Employees
Larry W. Beeferman and Arthur Bragança V. de Weintraub. 9/10/2014. “'Reform' of the United States and Brazilian Retirement Systems for Federal Employees.” Revista Brasileira de Previdência, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP),. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Recently, Brazil made changes to its retirement system as it concerned public sector workers, changes which in certain ways were similar to those which occurred for most federal workers in the United States somewhat over a quarter of a century ago. Broadly speaking it involved the conversion of a purely pay-as-you-go defined benefit plans to a hybrid of a reduced pay-as-you- go defined benefit plan with a funded defined contribution plan. In the United States, the latter is called the Thrift Savings Plan which now has over 4.5 million participants and nearly $400 billion in assets.

This paper offers a brief history of the origins of the U.S. system up until the changes in question were made, what were among the major factors or considerations which appear to have spurred the changes, a little bit about the constituencies which seem to have driven or resisted change as the case may be, the modifications that were envisioned, and expectations as to the difference that was expected to be wrought from those alterations. It canvases the differences between the then “old” and the “new” systems in relation to what was ostensibly sought to be achieved. It then draws on what is a surprisingly thin literature to describe the outcomes of the changes more than 25 years later with an eye to hoped-for or anticipated results at the outset. We then detail important elements of the new Brazilian system – which is at an early stage – with an eye to similarities and differences between it and the one we have described with a focus on how the outcomes of the system in the U.S. might bear on thinking in Brazil as it moves forward with its own. We conclude briefly with thoughts on the nature and merits of further pursuing the comparison and inquiry.

Margaret Thatcher, the Thatcherite Intellectuals, and the Fate of Keynes
John Trumpbour. 5/2014. “Margaret Thatcher, the Thatcherite Intellectuals, and the Fate of Keynes.” Industrial Relations Journal, Special Issue on Margaret Thatcher’s Legacy, 45:3, Pp. 250-265. Publisher's VersionAbstract
In the early 1970s, major political leaders of the centre-right such as Richard M. Nixon proudly declared their allegiance to the Keynesian consensus and the welfare state. By the mid-1970s, this consensus unravelled so rapidly that even the leader of Britain's Labour Party came to regard Keynesian medicine as ineffectual. Seeking to demolish several foundations of the Keynesian welfare state, Thatcherism soon attracted economists and policy pundits eager to defend its achievements, including in North America at such bygone hotbeds of Keynesianism as Harvard University. This essay seeks to probe cherished mythologies of Thatcherism that she restored Britain's economic dynamism, streamlined government and revived plucky entrepreneurship. Her intellectual admirers have largely averted their eyes from law-and-order repression and the rewards delivered to politically connected insiders, most dramatically those policies unleashing finance capitalists and extending the tentacles of the Murdoch media empire.
Benjamin I. Sachs and Catherine L. Fisk. 2014. “Restoring Equity in Right-to-Work Law.” U.C. Irvine Law Revue, Vol. 4, 2, Pp. 857-879. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Under United States labor law, when a majority of employees in a bargaining unit chooses union representation, all employees in the unit are represented by the union. Federal law, moreover, requires the union to represent all workers in a bargaining unit equally with respect to both collective bargaining and disciplinary matters. As a general rule, federal law enables unions to require employees to pay for the services that unions are obligated to provide them. Twenty-four states, however, have enacted laws granting union-represented employees the right to refuse to pay the union for the services that federal law requires the union to offer. As such, the intersection of federal labor law and state right to work laws results in a mandate that unions provide services for free to any employee who declines to pay dues. This paper proposes three approaches to addressing this feature of U.S. labor law. First, the paper argues that under a proper reading of the NLRA states may not prohibit all mandatory payments from workers to unions. In particular, the paper shows that states must permit collective bargaining agreements requiring so-called objectors (or nonmembers) to pay dues and fees lower than those required of members. Second, the paper argues that in right to work states federal law ought to relax the requirement of exclusive representation and allow unions to organize, bargain on behalf of, and represent only those workers who affirmatively choose to become members. This proposal would implement a members-only bargaining regime in right to work states. Third, the paper contends that the NLRB ought to abandon its rule forbidding unions from charging objecting nonmembers a fee for representation services that the union provides directly and individually to them.
2013
The Unbundled Union: Politics Without Collective Bargaining
Benjamin I. Sachs. 2013. “The Unbundled Union: Politics Without Collective Bargaining.” Yale Law Journal, Vol. 123, Pp. 148-207. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Public policy in the United States is disproportionately responsive to the wealthy, and the traditional response to this problem, campaign finance regulation, has failed. As students of politics have long recognized, however, political influence flows not only from wealth but also from organization, a form of political power open to all income groups. Accordingly, as this Essay argues, a promising alternative to campaign finance regulations is legal interventions designed to facilitate political organizing by the poor and middle class. To date, the most important legal intervention of this kind has been labor law, and the labor union has been the central vehicle for this type of organizing. But the labor union as a political-organizational vehicle suffers a fundamental flaw: unions bundle political organization with collective bargaining, a highly contested form of economic organization. As a result, opposition to collective bargaining impedes unions' ability to serve as a political-organizing vehicle for lower and middle-income groups. Public policy in the United States is disproportionately responsive to the wealthy, and the traditional response to this problem, campaign finance regulation, has failed. As students of politics have long recognized, however, political influence flows not only from wealth but also from organization, a form of political power open to all income groups. Accordingly, as this Essay argues, a promising alternative to campaign finance regulations is legal interventions designed to facilitate political organizing by the poor and middle class. To date, the most important legal intervention of this kind has been labor law, and the labor union has been the central vehicle for this type of organizing. But the labor union as a political-organizational vehicle suffers a fundamental flaw: unions bundle political organization with collective bargaining, a highly contested form of economic organization. As a result, opposition to collective bargaining impedes unions' ability to serve as a political-organizing vehicle for lower and middle-income groups. This Essay proposes that labor law unbundle the union, allowing employees to organize politically through the union form without also organizing economically for collective bargaining purposes. Doing so would have the immediate effect of liberating political-organizational efforts from the constraints of collective bargaining, an outcome that could mitigate representational inequality. The Essay identifies the legal reforms that would be necessary to enable such unbundled "political unions" to succeed. It concludes by looking beyond the union context and suggesting a broader regime of reforms aimed at facilitating political organizing by those income groups for whom representational inequality is now a problem.
2012
Benjamin I. Sachs. 2012. “Unions, Corporations, and Political Opt-Out Rights after Citizens United.” Columbia Law Review , Vol. 112, Pp. 800-869. J-stor linkAbstract
Citizens United upends much of campaign finance law, but it maintains at least one feature of that legal regime: the equal treatment of corporations and unions. Prior to Citizens United, that is, corporations and unions were equally constrained in their ability to spend general treasury funds on federal electoral politics. After the decision, campaign finance law leaves both equally unconstrained and free to use their general treasuries to finance political expenditures. But the symmetrical treatment that Citizens United leaves in place masks a less visible, but equally significant, way in which the law treats union and corporate political spending differently. Namely, federal law prohibits a union from spending its general treasury funds on politics if individual employees object to such use - employees, in short, enjoy a federally protected right to opt out of funding union political activity. In contrast, corporations are free to spend their general treasuries on politics even if individual shareholders object - shareholders enjoy no right to opt out of financing corporate political activity. This Article assesses whether the asymmetric rule of political opt-out rights is justified. The Article first offers an affirmative case for symmetry grounded in the principle that the power to control access to economic opportunities - whether employment or investment based - should not be used to secure compliance with or support for the economic actor's political agenda. It then addresses three arguments in favor of asymmetry. Given the relative weakness of these arguments, the Article suggests that the current asymmetry in opt-out rules may be unjustified. The Article concludes by pointing to constitutional questions raised by this asymmetry, and by arguing that lawmakers would be justified in correcting it.
2011
Capital Stewardship in the United States: Worker Voice and the Union Role in the Management of Pension Fund Assets
Larry W. Beeferman. 2/2011. “Capital Stewardship in the United States: Worker Voice and the Union Role in the Management of Pension Fund Assets.” Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, vol. 17 , no 1, Pp. 43-57.Abstract
This article describes US unions’ efforts at capital stewardship, that is, the investment and management of the assets accumulated in pension and other retirement plans (frequently termed ‘workers’ or ‘labour’s capital’) — on behalf of plan participants and in the interest of workers more generally. It focuses particularly on the opportunities for direct worker voice in the governance and management of those assets through workers serving as trustees of the plans. The article explores the challenges these trustees face in navigating that role in addition to their possibly conflicting role as a union member or official. It details unions’ visions for capital stewardship and their efforts to integrate trustees’ activities within the broader range of union activities. Finally, it describes ways in which unions have collaborated in support of their trustees and to develop a cross-union capital stewardship agenda.
2010
Arnold M. Zack. 6/2010. “Developing Standards Of Workplace Justice Within International Organizations.” American Society of International Law International Organizations Interest Group Review. Publisher's Version

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