Working and Poor: How Economic Policy Changes Are Affecting Low-Wage Workers

Working and Poor: How Economic Policy Changes Are Affecting Low-Wage Workers

by Rebecca M. Blank
     
 

ISBN-10: 0871540754

ISBN-13: 9780871540751

Pub. Date: 02/28/2007

Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation

Over the last three decades, large-scale economic developments, such as technological change, the decline in unionization, and changing skill requirements, have exacted their biggest toll on low-wage workers. These workers often possess few marketable skills and few resources with which to support themselves during periods of economic transition. In Working and

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Overview

Over the last three decades, large-scale economic developments, such as technological change, the decline in unionization, and changing skill requirements, have exacted their biggest toll on low-wage workers. These workers often possess few marketable skills and few resources with which to support themselves during periods of economic transition. In Working and Poor, a distinguished group of economists and policy experts, headlined by editors Rebecca Blank, Sheldon Danziger, and Robert Schoeni, examine how economic and policy changes over the last twenty-five years have affected the well-being of low-wage workers and their families.

Working and Poor examines every facet of the economic well-being of less-skilled workers, from employment and earnings opportunities to consumption behavior and social assistance policies. Rebecca Blank and Heidi Schierholz document the different trends in work and wages among less-skilled women and men. Between 1979 and 2003, labor force participation rose rapidly for these women, along with more modest increases in wages, while among the men both employment and wages fell. David Card and John DiNardo review the evidence on how technological changes have affected less-skilled workers and conclude that the effect has been smaller than many observers claim. Philip Levine examines the effectiveness of the Unemployment Insurance program during recessions. He finds that the program’s eligibility rules, which deny benefits to workers who have not met minimum earnings requirements, exclude the very people who require help most and should be adjusted to provide for those with the highest need.  On the other hand, Therese J. McGuire and David F. Merriman show that government help remains a valuable source of support during economic downturns.  They find that during the most recent recession in 2001, when state budgets were stretched thin, legislatures resisted political pressure to cut spending for the poor.

Working and Poor provides a valuable analysis of the role that public policy changes can play in improving the plight of the working poor. A comprehensive analysis of trends over the last twenty-five years, this book provides an invaluable reference for the public discussion of work and poverty in America.

A Volume in the National Poverty Center Series on Poverty and Public Policy

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780871540751
Publisher:
Russell Sage Foundation
Publication date:
02/28/2007
Series:
National Poverty Center Series on Poverty and Public Policy Series
Pages:
448
Product dimensions:
6.63(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents Introduction: Work and Poverty During the Past Quarter Century Rebecca Blank/Sheldon Danziger/Robert Schoeni Part I. What is Changing (and Why) in the Labor Market for Low-Skilled Workers? 1. Exploring Gender Differences in Employment and Wage Trends Among Less- Skilled Workers Rebecca M. Blank/Heidi Shierholz 2. Wage Trends among Disadvantaged Minorities George J. Borjas Part II. How do Economic Trends Affect Less-Skilled Workers? 3. The Macroeconomy and Determinants of the Earnings of Less-Skilled Workers Robert Hall 4. The Impact of Technological Change on Low-Wage Workers: A Review David Card/John DiNardo 5. The Changing Pattern of Wage Growth for Low Skilled Workers Eric French/Bhashkar Mazumder/Christopher Taber Part III. How do Macroeconomic Changes Influence Well-Being Measures Beyond Income? 6. The Level and Composition of Consumption Over the Business Cycle: The Role of "Quasi-fixed" Expenditures Kerwin Kofi Charles/Melvin Stephens Jr. 7. Recent Trends in Resource Sharing among the Poor Steven J. Haider/Kathleen McGarry 8. Economic Conditions and Children's Living Arrangements Rebecca A. London/Robert W. Fairlie Part IV. How do Policy Changes Interact with the Economy and Economic Well-being? 9. How do Tax Policies Affect Low-income Workers? Kevin A. Hassett/Anne Moore 10. State Spending on Social Assistance Programs Over the Business Cycle Therese J. McGuire/David F. Merriman 11. Temporary Agency Employment as a Way out of Poverty? David Autor/Susan Houseman 12. Child Support and the Economy Maria Cancian/Daniel R. Meyer 13. Unemployment Insurance over the Business Cycle: Does it Meet the Needs of Less-Skilled Workers? Phillip B. Levine 14. How is Health Insurance Affected by the Economy? Public and Private Coverage among Low-skilled Adults in the 1990s Helen Levy

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