Measuring Family Policy Effects

As more family leave policies are being put into place, statistical analysis of their specific effects is coming of age. Variation across different regions and over time makes it possible to apply “difference-in-difference” models that control for the effects of confounding variables and yield relatively reliable estimates. The maturation of research on this topic was evident at a session organized… Read more →

Defining “Alternative Systems”

  The topic “alternative economic systems” is generally construed as “economic alternatives to capitalism.” This presumes we agree on what “capitalism” is. I don’t think we do. Many neoclassical economists won’t even use the word “capitalism” referring instead to a “market society” or sometimes a “modern” society. I think this a serious mistake. We need words to describe the institutional… Read more →

Heroine of the Noisy Revolution

Claudia Goldin famously described the dramatic movement of women into paid employment over the course of the twentieth century as a “quiet” revolution of cumulative labor supply decisions. But this revolution had its noisy moments, and its noisy advocates, among them the magnificently noisy Barbara Bergmann. Barbara never denied the relevance of individual choice. But she emphasized the institutional structures… Read more →

China’s Looming Care Crisis

Guest post by Barbara E. Hopkins, Wright State University. The Chinese Communist Party has officially abandoned the “one-child” policy and now allows all married couples to have two children. However welcome this policy shift, it is unlikely to fend off the worsening care crisis associated with an aging population. The New York Times reports that only 12% of eligible couples responded… Read more →

The Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

Guest post by Laura Sylvester, graduate student at the Center for Public Policy and Administration and the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Laura drafted the initial version of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and has been actively involved in organizing and advocating for its passage for the past 18 months. The Massachusetts Pregnant Workers… Read more →

Work for Profit (or Not)

Most introductory economics texts assume that most of the work performed in the U.S. takes place in profit-maximizing firms. One important exception is Understanding Capitalism, by Samuel Bowles, Richard Edwards, and Frank Roosevelt, which has long observed that “commodified” work represents less than half of all work performed. Asked to help update this text, I came up with the pie chart… Read more →

The Rape of the Yezidi

Plutarch described the Rape of the Sabine Women as a formative stage of the founding of Rome, an episode dramatized by many of the most famous artists of the Western world, including Peter Paul Rubens and Pablo Picasso. Historian Miriam Gebhardt has recently published a book contending that large numbers of American soldiers raped German women in the early days… Read more →

The Opt-Out Elite

Claire Cain Miller’s recent article on mothers’ “career pauses” reminds me of Lisa Belkin’s controversial piece, “The Opt-Out Revolution,” published about twelve years ago. In both instances, women’s expressed preferences get more attention than their particular economic circumstances, making it difficult to assess the choices available to them (a point Myra Strober made in a previous post and that Pamela… Read more →

Options Other than Opting Out

Joan Williams of the Hastings College of the Law at the University of California has some very specific advice for lawyers considering the kind of career “pause” described in Claire Cain Miller’s recent New York Times article. In “Don’t Leave When You Leave” over at Huffington Post, Joan describes five new companies that offer legal firms “accordion” services–curated access to… Read more →