Jobs with Equality

Paperback | September 21, 2008

byLane Kenworthy

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Economic and social shifts have led to rising income inequality in the world's affluent countries. This is worrisome for reasons of fairness and because inequality has adverse effects on other socioeconomic goods. Redistribution can help, but government revenues are threatened by globalizationand population aging. A way out of this impasse is for countries to increase their employment rate. Increasing employment enlarges the tax base, allowing tax revenues to rise without an increase in tax rates; it also reduces welfare state costs by decreasing the amount of government benefits goingto individuals and households. The question is: Can egalitarian institutions and policies be coupled with employment growth? For two decades conventional wisdom has held that the answer is no. In Jobs with Equality, Lane Kenworthy provides a comprehensive and systematic assessment of the experiences of rich nations since the late 1970s. This book examines the impact on employment of six key policies and institutions: wage levels at the low end of the labor market, employment protectionregulations, government benefit generosity, taxes, skills, and women-friendly policies. The analysis includes twenty countries, with a focus on Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Kenworthy concludesthat there is some indication of tradeoffs, but that they tend to be small in magnitude. There is no parsimonious set of policies and institutions that have been the key to good or bad employment performance. Instead, there are multiple paths to employment success. The comparative experiencesuggests reason for optimism about possibilities for a high-employment, high-equality society.

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Economic and social shifts have led to rising income inequality in the world's affluent countries. This is worrisome for reasons of fairness and because inequality has adverse effects on other socioeconomic goods. Redistribution can help, but government revenues are threatened by globalizationand population aging. A way out of this imp...

Lane Kenworthy is professor of sociology and political science at the University of Arizona. He studies the causes and consequences of poverty, inequality, mobility, employment, economic growth, and social policy in the United States and other affluent countries. He is author of In Search of National Economic Success (1995), Egalitari...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.83 inPublished:September 21, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199550603

ISBN - 13:9780199550609

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Table of Contents

1. IntroductionPart I Equality2. Why Should We Care About Inequality?3. Sources of Equality and Inequality: Wages, Jobs, Households, and RedistributionPart II Jobs4. Measuring and Analyzing Employment Performance5. Low-End Wages6. Employment Protection Regulations7. Government Benefits8. Taxes9. Skills10. Women-Friendly Policies11. Toward a High-Employment, High-Equality SocietyAppendix: Data Definitions and SourcesReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"On the premise that high employment is essential to the realization of egalitarian goals in the contemporary era, this important book explores how social policies and institutional arrangements in advanced capitalist societies have affected employment growth over the last three decades. Kenworthy synthesizes existing literature and presents new empirical findings based on original cross-national data and measurements. His most important contribution is to explore multiple determinants of employment performance and interactions among these determinants in a systematic fashion. Very sensibly, the analysis yields policy recommendations that are specific to particular institutional contexts. For students of comparative political economy, the particular questions that Kenworthy addresses are now settled for some time to come."--Jonas Pontusson, Professor of Politics, Princeton University "This new book is a worthy successor to Lane Kenworthy's much acclaimed Egalitarian Capitalism. Combining academic rigor with a reader-friendly style, he explores how we might reconcile what many consider incompatible goals: more employment and greater equality. Drawing on systematic and empirically rich analyses, Kenworthy argues against any simplistic policy formula. The book makes especially lucrative reading when, in the latter half, it identifies the key ingredients of a win-win strategy. Jobs with Equality is destined to generate debate all-the-while that it affirms Lane Kenworthy's status as a leading scholar of social inequality."--Gosta Esping-Andersen, Professor of Sociology, Universitat Pompeu Fabra