Workers with a license tend to receive a wage premium relative to unlicensed workers. Using new data from the Current Population Survey, Ryan Nunn examines the ways that licensing affects workers, as well as their wages, tenure, and part-time status by age, race, gender and wage level.
One simple question—are wages rising?—is as central to the health of our democracy as it is to the health of our economy. This book presents evidence and analysis that detail why wages have been stagnant for so many workers, while also identifying public policies that could effectively contribute to the growth in productivity and wages that are core parts of improving living standards for all Americans. These proposals include greater support for policies that increase human capital, boost worker mobility, strengthen worker bargaining power, and sustain robust labor demand.
For most of the period since the 1970s the United States has suffered from two trends: stagnant wages for most workers and rising inequality. In this paper, Heidi Shierholz focuses on the erosion of labor standards, institutions, and norms that has reduced the bargaining power of low- and moderate-wage workers. She proposes a suite of remedies to help strengthen worker bargaining power and increase wages.
One of the challenges of wage stagnation is asymmetric information, whereby employers have a greater knowledge of the distribution of wages relative to workers. This asymmetry of information is potentially suppressing wage growth as it limits workers’ ability and inclination to negotiate for higher pay. In this paper, Ben Harris advances a five-part proposal to improve wage transparency as a strategy for improving worker bargaining power, and ultimately, raising wages across the income distribution.
Labor market collusion or monopsonization—the exercise of employer market power in labor markets—may contribute to wage stagnation, rising inequality, and declining productivity in the American economy, trends which have hit low-income workers especially hard. To address these problems, Alan Krueger and Eric Posner propose three policy reforms.
Firms use non-competes widely in order to minimize recruiting costs, safeguard investments, and protect intellectual property more easily than is achieved via non-disclosure agreements. But these benefits come at a cost to workers, whose career flexibility is compromised—often without their informed consent. In this paper, Matt Marx describes evidence from empirical research on non-compete agreements and recommends policies to balance the interests of firms and workers.