nep-pke New Economics Papers
on Post Keynesian Economics
Issue of 2012‒09‒16
five papers chosen by
Karl Petrick
University of the West Indies

  1. Bad Jobs on the Rise By John Schmitt; Janelle Jones
  2. Protecting Fundamental Labor Rights: Lessons from Canada for the United States By Kris Warner
  3. Labour precariousness and make do and mend after redundancy at Anglesey Aluminium: critiquing Human Capital Theory By Tony Dobbins; Alexandra Plows; Huw Lloyd-Williams
  4. Regional Monetary Cooperation in Latin America By José Antonio Ocampo; Daniel Titelman
  5. Why was Belgium so late in adopting Keynesian ideas and devising regional development policies? By Erik Buyst

  1. By: John Schmitt; Janelle Jones
    Abstract: The decline in the economy’s ability to create good jobs is related to deterioration in the bargaining power of workers, especially those at the middle and the bottom of the pay scale. The restructuring of the U.S. labor market – including the decline in the inflation-adjusted value of the minimum wage, the fall in unionization, privatization, deregulation, pro-corporate trade agreements, a dysfunctional immigration system, and macroeconomic policy that has with few exceptions kept unemployment well above the full employment level – has substantially reduced the bargaining power of U.S. workers, effectively pulling the bottom out of the labor market and increasing the share of bad jobs in the economy. In this paper, we define a bad job as one that pays less than $37,000 per year (in inflation-adjusted 2010 dollars); lacks employer-provided health insurance; and has no employer-sponsored retirement plan. By our calculations, about 24 percent of U.S. workers were in a bad job in 2010 (the most recently available data). The share of bad jobs in the economy is substantially higher than it was in 1979, when 18 percent of workers were in a bad job by the same definition. The problems we identify here are long-term and largely unrelated to the Great Recession. Most of the increase in bad jobs – to 22 percent in 2007 – occurred before the recession and subsequent weak recovery.
    Keywords: good jobs, bad jobs, retirement, pensions, health insurance, wages, labor, education
    JEL: J J3 J31 J32 J38 J5 J1 J11 J15 I I2 I24 I25
    Date: 2012–09
  2. By: Kris Warner
    Abstract: This paper examines the decline in unionization in the United States that began to occur in about 1960. While various explanations have been put forward to explain this – with many focusing on some form of structural changes to the economy or to the workforce, usually related to globalization or technological progress – this paper focuses on the role that employer opposition to unions has played, together with relatively weak labor law. In order to fully flesh out the experience of the United States, it looks to the experience of Canada as the country most similar to it.
    Keywords: unions, employment, labor, collective bargaining, canada, labor law, economics
    JEL: J J3 J5 J50 J53 J58
    Date: 2012–08
  3. By: Tony Dobbins (Bangor Business School); Alexandra Plows (School of Social Sciences, Bangor University); Huw Lloyd-Williams (College of Business, Social Sciences and Law, Bangor University)
    Abstract: This paper tracks workers experiences of and responses to redundancy, and the impact on the local labour market, following the closure of a large employer, Anglesey Aluminium (AA), on Anglesey in North Wales. We draw on these findings to produce a critical challenge to Human Capital Theory (HCT) and its influence on sustaining neo-liberal policy orthodoxy with its focus on supplying skilled and employable workers in isolation from other necessary ingredients in the policy recipe. We conclude that HCT and associated policy orthodoxy has contributed to market failure. Ex-AA workers faced a paradox of being overqualified but underemployed. Some workers re-skilled but there were insufficient (quality) job opportunities commensurate with the employment they had left. In picking up the pieces following redundancy, many workers found themselves part of an expanding labour precariat with little choice but to make do and mend.
    Keywords: Human Capital Theory, Job Quality, Opportunity Bargain, Precariat, Redundancy, Restructuring.
    Date: 2012–06
  4. By: José Antonio Ocampo (Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI)); Daniel Titelman
    Abstract: Latin American has the longest history of regional integration efforts in the developing world. This paper analyzes the experience of regional monetary cooperation in Latin America over the past three decades. This experience has been overall successful but also uneven, both in terms of country coverage and services provided. Although strictly not a form of monetary cooperation, development financing does play a useful complementary role by proving counter-cyclical or at least stable financing during crises, when private financing for developing countries dries up.
    Keywords: Regional monetary cooperation, Monetary cooperation, Latin America, development financing
    JEL: O23 O54
    Date: 2012–08
  5. By: Erik Buyst
    Date: 2012

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