2010

Science and Engineering Careers in the United States: An Analysis of Markets and Employment
2009. Science and Engineering Careers in the United States: An Analysis of Markets and Employment, Pp. 408. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Abstract

Beginning in the early 2000s, there was an upsurge of national concern over the state of the science and engineering job market that sparked a plethora of studies, commission reports, and a presidential initiative, all stressing the importance of maintaining American competitiveness in these fields. Science and Engineering Careers in the United States is the first major academic study to probe the issues that underlie these concerns.

This volume provides new information on the economics of the postgraduate science and engineering job market, addressing such topics as the factors that determine the supply of PhDs, the career paths they follow after graduation, and the creation and use of knowledge as it is reflected by the amount of papers and patents produced. A distinguished team of contributors also explores the tensions between industry and academe in recruiting graduates, the influx of foreign-born doctorates, and the success of female doctorates. Science and Engineering Careers in the United States will raise new questions about stimulating innovation and growth in the American economy

National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report
 "Enabling Employee Choice: A Structural Approach to the Rules of Union Organizing,"
Benjamin I. Sachs. 2010. “ "Enabling Employee Choice: A Structural Approach to the Rules of Union Organizing,"” HARVARD LAW REVIEW, Vol. 123, Pp. 655-727. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The proposed Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) has led to fierce debate over how best
to ensure employees a choice on the question of unionization. The debate goes to the
core of our federal system of labor law. Each of the potential legislative designs under
consideration — including both “card check” and “rapid elections” — aims to enhance
employee choice by minimizing or eliminating managerial involvement in the
unionization process. The central question raised by EFCA, therefore, is whether
enabling employees to limit or avoid managerial intervention in union campaigns is an
appropriate goal for federal law. This Article answers this foundational question in the
affirmative. It reaches this conclusion by conceptualizing federal labor law in terms of
legal default rules, drawing in particular on the preference-eliciting default theory of
statutory interpretation and the reversible default theory from corporate law. Doing so
leads to the argument that card check, rapid elections, and similar mechanisms are best
understood as “asymmetry-correcting altering rules” — means of mitigating the
impediments that block departure from the nonunion default. Understanding EFCA in
this way also requires that we ask how such an altering rule should be constructed. This
Article addresses this institutional design question by arguing that card check’s open
decisionmaking process is flawed and that rapid elections, while an improvement over
the status quo, are an insufficient method of mitigating the relevant impediments to
employee choice. Accordingly, this Article offers two new designs — alternatives to both
card check and rapid elections — that would accomplish the legitimate function
of minimizing managerial intervention while at the same time preserving secrecy in
decisionmaking. 
2010 Apr 21

Capital Matters VIII - Managing Labor's Capital

Wed - Fri, Apr 21 to Apr 23, 6:00pm - 2:00pm

Location: 

Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA

coverAmong the topics on which this year’s Capital Matters conference focused were systemic risk and its pension fund and other implications, various aspects of pension fund risk management, a rethinking of fiduciary duty, an assessment of the success of capital stewardship, challenges faced by employment-based retirement plans and the broader challenge of retirement security for all households, and the new landscape of pension fund investment in infrastructur0
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US Pension Funds’ Labour-Friendly Investments
Tessa Hebb and Larry Beeferman. 2010. “US Pension Funds’ Labour-Friendly Investments.” In "Social" in Social Security: Market, State and Associations in Retirement Provision,, Pp. Chapter 4. Lampeter, UK: Hyde, Mark and John Dixon, Edwin Mellen Press.Abstract
This article explores the evolution of labor friendly US investments by pension funds in the period since the downturn of the financial markets in 2001. It argues that both pension funds and investment vehicles that bring intentional targeting to their investments are becoming increasingly sophisticated financial players. Labor friendly investments that focus on risk adjusted rates of return as the driver for investment are increasingly able to point to strong track records that encourage a wide range of pension fund investors to engage with these vehicles and practices.
Capital Matters No 6: Going on Automatic: The Right Path Toward Retirement Income Security For All?
Larry W. Beeferman and Matthew B. Becker. 9/2010. Capital Matters No 6: Going on Automatic: The Right Path Toward Retirement Income Security For All?. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Households in the United States face serious challenges to enjoying income security in retirement. This paper critically appraises two policy initiatives ostensibly geared to helping to meet those challenges.  One already embodied in law - the federal Pension Protection Act of 2006 (the "Act") - and the other in the form of Obama administration and legislative proposals, use automatic enrollment in employment-based defined contribution (DC) plans and Individual Retirement Accounts, respectively, along with default investments as means toward that end.

The paper describes the rationales offered at the time for the Act's provisions, the manner in which the enacted policies have been implemented, and how effective they have been and are likely to be. It assesses the strength of the evidence available at the time to support advocates' contentions that automatic enrollment would be a success. It then considers the post-enactment literature on the outcomes of automatic enrollment. It follows with a review of the literature on persistence (over time) of contributions to defined contribution (DC) plans and how realistic or justifiable were expectations for the success of the Act's provisions. The paper then characterizes the IRA proposals and examines studies of the persistence of contributions to IRAs. Next it evaluates the workings and outcomes of New Zealand's KiwiSaver scheme, the one already in operation which most closely resembles what proponents urge should be done with respect to IRAs. Finally, drawing on the findings and observations in the preceding sections, the paper offers a broader perspective on the directions policy should take if there is to be a serious prospect of ensuring retirement income security for all households in this country.