Spring 2014 Events

Note: additional events will be added as the Spring Colloquium Series is finalized.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 | 5pm - 6:30pm

When Mandates Work

When Mandates Work
Raising Labor Standards at the Local Level

Edited by Michael Reich, Ken Jacobs, and Miranda Dietz

» Book event flyer PDF

Starting in the 1990s, San Francisco launched a series of bold but relatively unknown public policy experiments to improve wages and benefits for thousands of local workers. Since then, scholars have documented the effects of those policies on compensation, productivity, job creation, and health coverage. Opponents predicted a range of negative impacts, but the evidence tells a decidedly different tale. This book brings together that evidence for the first time, reviews it as a whole, and considers its lessons for local, state, and federal policymakers.

Monday, January 27, 2014 | 12pm - 1pm

Ben Zipperer

Pooled Synthetic Control Estimates of Minimum Wage Effects

Ben Zipperer, Economics, University of Massachusetts(Amherst)
(co-authored with Arindrajit Dube)

» Read Paper PDF

We apply the synthetic control approach in a setting with multiple case studies and recurring treatments. Using minimum wage changes as an application, we propose a simple distribution-free method for pooling across cases using mean percentile ranks, which have desirable small sample properties. We invert the mean rank statistic in order to construct a confidence interval for the pooled estimate, and we test for the heterogeneity of the treatment effect using the distribution of estimated ranks. We also offer guidance on model selection and match quality—issues that are of practical concern in the synthetic control approach generally and when pooling across many cases. Using 19 cases of state minimum wage increases between 1998 and 2007, we do not find a statistically significant effect on teen employment, with the mean and the median elasticity close to zero. There is also no indication of heterogeneous treatment effects. Finally, we discuss some important practical challenges, including the ability to find close matches and the choice of predictors used for constructing a synthetic control.

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Monday, February 24, 2014 | 12pm - 1pm

Sylvia Allegretto

Waiting for Change: Is It Time to Increase the $2.13 Subminimum Wage?

Sylvia Allegretto, Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics, IRLE

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Brown Bag

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 | 12pm - 1:30pm

Pelin Sekerler Richiardi

Multidimensional Determinants of Inequality: A Post Crisis Analysis of Employment-Focused Welfare Changes

Pelin Sekerler Richiardi, Economist, International Institute for Labour Studies of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Geneva

Discussant: Professor David Card

Welfare and inequality (defined as the uneven distribution of welfare) have mainly been measured in monetary terms. Welfare measures seek to give an indication of how “good” the individuals’ life is, and focusing on income alone is certainly not sufficient to give a comprehensive definition of welfare. While the necessity of including non-monetary dimensions to better understand this phenomenon has been gaining ground, the role of employment has not been emphasized. Employment constitutes a key component of welfare not only through labor income but also through other conditions such as type of contact or working hours. It also considerably affects the feeling of self-respect and fulfillment. Therefore, this study aims at developing a multidimensional index of welfare that contains non-monetary dimensions linked to the labor market, then, by using this index, at analysing the changes in inequalities before and after the 2008 global economic crisis. For this project, survey data from European Social Surveys (ESS) and European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) will be used. The presentation will focus on challenges of developing multi-dimensional measures (i.e assigning weights to various dimensions) and different inequality indices that might be used (i.e General Entropy family of indices).

Monday, March 3, 2014 | 12pm - 1pm

Philippe Pochet

The State of Unions in the European Union

Philippe Pochet, European Trade Union Institute (ETUI)

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Brown Bag

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 | 12pm - 1:30pm

Martina Ori

Translating Employment Terminology: A Comparative Analysis

Martina Ori, PhD student,  University of Bergamo, Italy and ADAPT research fellow

Research has extensively investigated the concepts of integration and differentiation in employment practices across countries, highlighting that on the one hand national legal systems influence each other to a great extent, whereas, on the other, employment practices still differ greatly across countries due to persisting differences in national institutions. There is therefore the need for comparative, international and interdisciplinary research in a field that has so far been widely neglected. The presentation will analyze the interaction between language, legal systems and culture with a focus on employment law drawing on concepts and terminology. It will provide an overview of translation pitfalls and of the strategies that can be adopted in multilingual and multicultural research across different legal systems.

Monday, March 17, 2014 | 12pm - 1pm

Annette Bernhardt

Labor Standards and the Reorganization of Work: Gaps in Data and Research

Annette Bernhardt, Visiting Researcher, IRLE; Visiting Professor, Sociology

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Friday, March 21, 2014 | 12pm - 1pm | ***648 Evans Hall***

Richard Freeman

What Do China's Government-run Unions Do?

Richard Freeman, Professor, Economics, Harvard University, NBER, Director
Joint with Fan Liang

Co-hosted with Economics Department
RSVP:  Thembianne Jackson, thembianne@berkeley.edu

Brown Bag

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 | 12pm - 1:30pm

Joanna Wolszczak-Derlacz

Efficiency and its Determinants of Higher Education Institutions in Europe and in the US

Joanna Wolszczak-Derlacz, Economist, Assistant Professor, Gdańsk University of Technology, Poland

The purpose of this study is to examine efficiency, productivity and their determinants in a set of higher education institutions (HEIs) from several European countries and the US by means of non-parametric frontier techniques. We conduct a two-stage DEA analysis (Simar and Wilson, 2007), first evaluating DEA scores and productivity changes (based on Malmquist indices) and then regressing them on potential covariates with the use of a bootstrapped truncated regression. Results indicate a considerable variability of efficiency scores within and between countries. Unit size (economies of scale), number and composition of faculties, sources of funding and gender staff composition are found to be among the crucial determinants of these units' performance. Specifically, we found evidence that a higher share of funds from external sources and a higher number of women among academic staff improve the efficiency and productivity of the institution.

Monday, March 31, 2014 | 12pm - 1pm

Eileen Appelbaum Rosemary Batt

Private Equity at Work: When Wall Street Manages Main Street

Eileen Appelbaum, Center for Economic Policy Research and
Rosemary Batt, ILR Cornell University

» Book flyer PDF

Private equity firms have long been at the center of public debates on the impact of the financial sector on Main Street companies. Are these firms financial innovators that save failing businesses or financial predators that bankrupt otherwise healthy companies and destroy jobs? The first comprehensive examination of this topic, Private Equity at Work provides a detailed yet accessible guide to this controversial business model. Economist Eileen Appelbaum and Professor Rosemary Batt carefully evaluate the evidence—including original case studies and interviews, legal documents, bankruptcy proceedings, media coverage, and existing academic scholarship—to demonstrate the effects of private equity on American businesses and workers. They document that while private equity firms have had positive effects on the operations and growth of small and mid-sized companies and in turning around failing companies, the interventions of private equity more often than not lead to significant negative consequences for many businesses and workers.

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Friday, April 4, 2014 | 12pm - 1:30pm

Richard Locke

The Promise and Limits of Private Power: Promoting Labor Standards in a Global Economy

Richard Locke, Department of Political Science, MIT

Cosponsored by the Comparative Politics Colloquium

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Brown Bag

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 | 12pm - 1:30pm

Frederik Thuesen

Ethnic Diversity in the Workplace and the Construction of Social Capital

Frederik Thuesen, Senior Researcher and Program Director at SFI—The Danish National Centre for Social Research, Copenhagen

The effects of increasing ethnic diversity in the labour market on social capital in the workplace are contested. I will present findings concerning the relationship between ethnic diversity in the workplace and social capital, building on a qualitative analysis of 49 interviews from 3 different highly ethnically diverse Danish workplaces. I will also present the design and the preliminary findings from an on-going quantitative analysis concerning the impact of ethnic diversity in the workplace on tolerance among the working population in Denmark towards immigrants coming to Denmark to work, building on linked repeated cross-section survey data and register data. Finally, I'll briefly outline possibilities for non-Danish researchers and PhD-students for accessing Danish survey and/ or register data (in case you are interested, please see http://www.sfi.dk/cssr-7745.aspx).

Brown Bag

Thursday, April 10, 2014 | 12pm - 1:30pm

Sachi Kotani

The Characteristics of Individually-Affiliated Unions in Japan: Toward the Comparison with Community Organizations in the United States

Sachi Kotani, Sociology, Nihon University, Japan

Discussant: Professor Kim Voss

Since the mid-1990's, economic globalization has reduced the leverage of labor unions in Japan and caused a rapid decline in the unionization ratio. Consequently, the study that focuses upon the economic feasibility of the company-based capital-labor relations has reached its limits. The purpose of this presentation is to suggest a future labor movement and construct a new methodology by using a case study of individually-affiliated unions established in the mid-1990's. In my presentation, I focus in particular on attribute-based individually-affiliated unions, which represent workers at the margin of the labor markets. I pay particular attention to their age, gender, ethnicity, and their status within the company. My previous research investigated the newly-formed individually-affiliated Tokyo Managers' Union and Women's Union Tokyo. Findings suggest that by cooperating with social movements and NGOs, individually affiliated unions have a wider social function than company based unions in the following ways: 1) They are better equipped than company-based unions to meet the needs of diverse workers through consultations. 2) They are able to solve over 90 percent of the labor disputes by means of individual negotiations, giving the workers a high degree of satisfaction. 3) Both unions, especially women' s labor unions, are capable of serving public interests by translating individual labor problems into larger social issues when they unite with other social movements and the NGOs. 4) They can empower individuals through various activities and mutual support among union members. 5) As a result of these activities, many union members of managers have reassessed the outlook for the company and attitude toward work, while individually-affiliated unions of women are geared toward gender sensitivity. Finally, this presentation will discuss the similarities and differences between community organizations such as worker centers in the United States and individually-affiliated unions in Japan with the view towards the comparative studies between them.

Thursday, April 10, 2014 | 5:30-7:00pm

When Mandates Work

When Mandates Work
Raising Labor Standards at the Local Level

Event Speakers Ken Jacobs, Gordon Mar, Ann O'Leary, and Michael Reich

» Book event flyer PDF

Starting in the 1990s, San Francisco launched a series of bold but relatively unknown public policy experiments to improve wages and benefits for thousands of local workers. Since then, scholars have documented the effects of those policies on compensation, productivity, job creation, and health coverage. Opponents predicted a range of negative impacts, but the evidence tells a decidedly different tale. This book brings together that evidence for the first time, reviews it as a whole, and considers its lessons for local, state, and federal policymakers.

Monday, April 21, 2014 | 12pm - 1pm

Olivier Godechot

The Working Rich: Wages, Bonuses and Appropriation of Profit in the Financial Industry

Olivier Godechot, Max Planck Sciences(MaxPo), France

This presentation looks at the dynamics of skyrocketing wages in the financial industry to open the black box of rapidly increasing wage inequalities. My book (Working Rich: Wages, Bonuses and Appropriation of Profit, 2007, in French, translation forthcoming from Chicago University Press) relies on a detailed fieldwork of the French financial industry in the early 2000s to unpack the social mechanisms that have produced ever increasing levels of compensation in that sector. I show how financial operatives set up informal property rights on the assets they work with (clients, formulas, software, knowledge, teams). These assets enable them to make proprietary claims on the origin and therefore the destination of profit. Those who are in a position to move financial assets between competitors can efficiently threaten the firm and its stakeholders --a situation I call "hold up"-- unless their demands for higher compensation are met. In such a framework, wages reflect not only traditional human capital variables but also the potentially proprietary assets that financial operatives can move.

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Monday, April 28, 2014 | 12pm - 1pm

Gabriel Zucman

Trends in U.S. Wealth Inequality, 1913 to 2012

Gabriel Zucman, Post-Doctoral Scholar at UC Berkeley and Assistant Professor of Economics, London School of Economics

» Presentation slides PDF

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Brown Bag

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 | 12pm - 1:30pm | CANCELLED

John Logan

Unions' Participation in Politics: Recent Legislative Developments

John Logan, Director, Professor of Labor and Employment Studies, San Francisco State University; Senior Research Associate, CLRE

In November 2012, Californians voted 56.1 per cent to 43.9 per cent to reject the nation's most sweeping effort to date to undermine organized labor's political voice. The pro- and anti-Proposition 32 camps spent a combined total of over $135 million on a campaign that was organized labor's top priority in California, and, along with the re-election of President Obama, one of its highest priorities nationwide. The 2012 election marked the third time in 15 years that California voters have rejected a so-called 'paycheck protection'—legislation restricting how unions can raise and spend money on political activities—ballot initiative. In 1998, in what the then AFL-CIO president John Sweeney called a 'modern political miracle', California voters rejected Proposition 226, the highest-profile paycheck protection ballot measure of the 1990s. And in 2005, in an early attempt to constrain the political activities of public-sector unions, Californians voted down the highest-profile paycheck measure of the 2000s, Proposition 75.

The defeat of Proposition 226 slowed paycheck's momentum in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But since 2011 paycheck protection has, once again, become a high priority for conservative politicians and anti-union organizations. After the failure of Proposition 32 at the ballot box, its principal backers—primarily conservative activists and out-of-state Super PACs (political action committees) stressed that the initiative was part of longer-term effort in California and the rest of the nation to neuter organized labor's political activities. Conservative lawmakers are currently pursuing paycheck bills in both Pennsylvania and Missouri. This paper analyzes the debate over paycheck protection and other similar state-level anti-union legislative initiatives of the past few years

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

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