Publications

2017
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.
The Myth of a Pro-Union Trump
Sharon Block. 5/24/2017. “The Myth of a Pro-Union Trump.” DemocracyJournal.org (Briefing Book). Publisher's Version
Guest Post: Curtis Ellis Considered to Lead the Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Sharon Block. 5/15/2017. “Guest Post: Curtis Ellis Considered to Lead the Bureau of International Labor Affairs.” onLabor.org. Publisher's Version
More Falsehoods from OMB
Sharon Block. 5/9/2017. “More Falsehoods from OMB.” DemocracyJournal.org (Briefing Book). Publisher's Version
Labour rights indicators: a new resource for better understanding of labour rights in the world
Dora Sari, Mark Anner, and David Kucera. 5/2017. “Labour rights indicators: a new resource for better understanding of labour rights in the world.” Global Labour Column (Number 274). Publisher's VersionAbstract

Is compliance with international labour standards good for economic development, or does non-compliance give countries a competitive advantage? Are we faced with a ‘race to the bottom’ with respect to labour standards?...As old as these questions are, we still lack anything like definitive answers to them. Knowing the answers should not call into question the objective of improving compliance with international labour standards, but rather inform the strategy by which this is pursued. In spite of there being a fair amount of research, a key bottleneck in moving forward is adequate measures for many international labour standards, particularly for freedom of association and collective bargaining (FACB) rights which are intrinsically difficult to measure. To address this gap, new labour rights indicators and an accompanying dataset, both focusing on FACB rights, have been launched by the Center for Global Workers’ Rights at Penn State University together with the Global Labour University. 

No Era of Corporate Responsibility
Sharon Block. 4/10/2017. “No Era of Corporate Responsibility.” DemocracyJournal.org (Briefing Book). Publisher's Version
Guest Post: A Letter from Sharon Block
Sharon Block. 3/28/2017. “Guest Post: A Letter from Sharon Block.” onLabor.org. Publisher's Version
The New Rules Hurting Retirement Security
Sharon Block. 3/20/2017. “The New Rules Hurting Retirement Security.” DemocracyJournal.org (Briefing Book). Publisher's Version
Vetting Is About Policy, Too
Sharon Block. 3/3/2017. “Vetting Is About Policy, Too.” DemocracyJournal.org (Briefing Book). Publisher's Version
An Obama Executive Order that Trump Should Love
Sharon Block. 2/2/2017. “An Obama Executive Order that Trump Should Love.” HuffPost.org. Publisher's Version
2016
Daniel Aaron, 1912-2016
John Trumpbour. 5/10/2016. “Daniel Aaron, 1912-2016.” The Baffler, online. Publisher's Version
GETTING REAL ABOUT ISLAMIC FINANCE
Larry W. Beeferman and Dr Allan Wain. 5/2016. GETTING REAL ABOUT ISLAMIC FINANCE. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Despite the size of what has been termed the “Islamic Finance market” – currently in the range of $2 Trillion – and the expectation that it will, in coming years, continue to grow rapidly, many investors have little or no familiarity with it. Precisely what is meant by the phrase varies. It might be cast as finance, the understanding and practice of which is informed in some measure by “the Islamic narrative”; that is, accounts of the world and the place of people within and their relations to it drawn from the constellation of beliefs, commitments, and practices associated with Islam. The paper seeks to introduce investors to the potential relevance and significance of Islamic Finance for the decisions that they make. It does so through an exploration of views about the “real” in three related senses: prominent efforts, within the context of Western finance, to promote investment in so-called “real assets”; especially in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, concern about “financialization,” particularly as it pertains to ideas about and the relationships between a so-called “real economy” and a/the financial sector or sphere; and the importance of notions of the “real” which are quite prominent in characterizations of the conceptual underpinnings for and the practice of Islamic finance.
Who Owns the Robots Rules the World: The deeper threat of robotization
Richard Freeman. 5/2016. “Who Owns the Robots Rules the World: The deeper threat of robotization.” Harvard Magazine. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We should worry less about the potential displacement of human labor by robots than about how to share fairly across society the prosperity that the robots produce.
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.
Joseph R. Blasi, Richard B. Freeman, and Douglas L. Kruse. 7/17/2015. “Capitalism for the Rest of Us.” New York Times Op-Ed. Publisher's Version
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. 

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