Fall 2009 Colloquia

Monday, September 14, 2009 - 12-1pm

The Impact of Living Wage Laws on Employment in California Cities

William Lester, IRLE, University of California, Berkeley

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Traditional local economic development policies entice private businesses to create highpaying jobs in a given jurisdiction through direct subsidies or by projecting a positive "business climate" within regional and global arenas. Since 1994 however, "living wage" ordinances have emerged as an alternative response to labor market polarization in urban areas. However, these laws raise labor costs for employers and thus have the potential to reduce economic growth. I assess the impact of living wage laws on employment and establishment levels in the cities that pass them. I provide separate estimates for government contractors and other firms that may be indirectly signaled by a change in the local political environment. I use the National Establishment Time-series database to construct a panel dataset that tracks employment and establishment levels for all California jurisdictions. I produce difference-in-difference estimates that indicate that living wage laws have no significant impact on employment or establishment growth. Additionally, I find no evidence that the passage of living wage laws sends a negative "signal" to businesses about a potentially harmful local business climate.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009 - 4-5pm

Please note special time and day.

Japanese engineers' work motivation and skill development

Yoshi-Fumi Nakata, Doshisha University, Japan

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In this paper, we first ask how the performance of Japanese engineers is determined. To answer this, we construct a determination model based on the hearing of 9 leading manufacturing companies in Japan. We then ask how much this model can explain the variation of performance as well as the rewards of the performance. To answer this question, we fitted this model for the unique dataset mentioned above. The summary and discussion of the multivariate analysis follows. In the following section we discuss the changing workplace environments as well as the macro environment, including labor market and the product market. We argue that those changes are in general counter-productive for sustaining the high performance of the Japanese engineers. We then conclude the paper by discussing the policy implications as well as these for the management.

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Monday, September 28, 2009 - 12-1pm

Gillian Lester

Means Testing, Universalism, and the Formation of Social Preferences

Gillian Lester, Berkeley Law School

This article explores the conditions under which citizens are likely to support social programs that redistribute resources to the poor. Specifically, I analyze and compare a system that aims to redistribute by targeting benefits at low-income individuals through an income or means test, versus one that emphasizes "universal" allocation of benefits, not conditioned on poverty. I argue that notwithstanding that we should expect universal provision (by definition) to achieve less redistribution than means testing, universalist policies ultimately may be more effective in achieving this goal because they are likely to be more politically durable, and to create social conditions that increase toleration for redistribution. I support this argument by drawing upon the growing body of research in psychology and economics suggesting that people have a mixture of self-regarding and other-regarding impulses, and that some forms of social organization are more likely than others to elicit pro-social behavior. Universalist programs, I argue, plausibly increase preferences for redistribution by tapping social norms of reciprocity, generating group identity effects based on a sense of common vulnerability, and serving as a "policy frame" that de-emphasizes the salience of low-income people as an undeserving "out-group." I use a case study of recent social insurance legislation as a springboard for developing an empirical research agenda that would help evaluate the strength of my thesis.

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Monday, October 5, 2009 - 12-1pm

Laura kray

Stereotype Threat in Organizations

Laura Kray, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - 4-5:30pm

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Ruth Milkman

Broken Laws, Unprotected Workers: Violations of Employment and Labor Laws in America's Cities

Ruth Milkman, University of California, Los Angeles, and CUNY Graduate Center

Co-sponsored by ISSI, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues

Ruth Milkman, who teaches sociology at UCLA and the CUNY Graduate Center, will speak on the new report she co-authored, BROKEN LAWS, UNPROTECTED WORKERS: Violations of Employment and Labor Laws in America's Cities.

This report summarizes the results of a survey of 4,387 workers in low-wage industries in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago that uncovered extensive wage theft and other violations of core workplace laws. The violations include: being paid less than the minimum wage, not being paid the legally required rate for overtime work, unpaid "off-the-clock" work before or after a standard work shift, not receiving legally mandated meal and rest breaks, tip stealing, workers' compensation violations, illegal employer retaliation, and more. The evidence suggests that core workplace protections, many of which have been in place since the 1930s, are all too often honored in the breach by employers in low-wage industries today. Using Respondent Driving Sampling, an innovative methodology that facilitates access to vulnerable workers often missed in conventional surveys (such as unauthorized immigrants), the survey was designed to produce statistically reliable estimates of the prevalence of workplace violations. All findings were adjusted to be representative of front-line workers - i.e. excluding supervisors, managers, professionals and technical workers - in low-wage industries in the three cities, constituting about 15 percent of the combined workforce of Los Angeles, New York and Chicago (about 1.6 million workers). The results highlight the need for enhanced labor law enforcement

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Monday, October 19, 2009 - 12-1pm

When trainees at the workplace organize collective action to improve their situations: apprentices and TAs

Paul Ryan, King's College London

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Monday, October 26, 2009 - 12-1pm

Jo-Ellen Ponzer

Repeat Offenders in Organizational Wrongdoing: Do Recidivists Face Worse Penalties than One-Timers?

Jo-Ellen Pozner, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley

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Monday, November 2, 2009 - 12-1pm

James Lincoln

The Japanese and U. S. employment systems: How are they changing? What are the consequences?

James Lincoln, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley

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Monday, November 16, 2009 - 12-1pm

American Exceptionalism and Labor Politics: A New Comparative Study of the United States and Australia

Robin Archer, London School of Economics

Why is there no labor party in the United States? This question lies at the heart of a classic debate about the nature of American politics and society. Drawing on his recently published work, Robin Archer shows how comparison with Australia suggests some striking new answers.

Robin Archer is the director of the graduate program in political sociology at the London School of Economics. He was previously the fellow in politics at Corpus Christi College at the University of Oxford. His latest book, Why Is There No Labor Party in the United States? was published by Princeton University Press in 2008.

For more details see: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8668.html

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Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 12-1pm

Joan Fitzgerald

Donald Vial Seminar - New Book: Emerald Cities: Urban Sustainability and Economic Development

Joan Fitzgerald, Professor and Director of the Law, Policy, and Society Program at Northeastern University

Amazon.com Description:
Here is a refreshing look at how American cities are leading the way toward greener, cleaner, and more sustainable forms of economic development.
In Emerald Cities, Joan Fitzgerald shows how in the absence of a comprehensive national policy, cities like Chicago, New York, Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle have taken the lead in addressing the interrelated environmental problems of global warming, pollution, energy dependence, and social justice. Cities are major sources of pollution but because of their population density, reliance on public transportation, and other factors, Fitzgerald argues that they are uniquely suited to promote and benefit from green economic development. For cities facing worsening budget constraints, investing in high-paying green jobs in renewable energy technology, construction, manufacturing, recycling, and other fields will solve two problems at once, sparking economic growth while at the same time dramatically improving quality of life. Fitzgerald also examines how investing in green research and technology may help to revitalize older industrial cities and offers examples of cities that don't make the top-ten green lists such as Toledo and Cleveland, Ohio and Syracuse, New York. And for cities wishing to emulate those already engaged in developing greener economic practices, Fitzgerald shows which strategies will be most effective according to each city's size, economic history, geography, and other unique circumstances. But cities cannot act alone, and Fitzgerald analyzes the role of state and national government policy in helping cities create the next wave of clean technology growth.

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Monday, November 30, 2009 - 12-1pm

Neil Fligstein

The anatomy of the Mortgage Securitization Crisis

Neil Fligstein, Department of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley

The current crisis in the mortgage securitization industry offers great insight into our models of how markets work and our political will, organizational capability, and ideological desire to intervene in markets. This paper shows that one of the main sources of failure has been the lack of a coherent understanding of how these markets came into existence, how tactics and strategies of the principal firms in these markets have evolved over time, and how we ended up with the economic collapse of the main firms. It seeks to provide some insight into these processes by compiling both historical and quantitative data on the emergence and spread of these tactics across the largest investment banks and their principal competitors from the mortgage origination industry. It ends by offering some policy proscriptions based on the analysis.

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All events are located at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, 2521 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA.

TO ATTEND AN EVENT, PLEASE R.S.V.P. Myra Armstrong, zulu2@berkeley.edu