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Commentary

Watch exclusive video from conferences, debates and other events on labor market economics as well as reading the latest opinion pieces from IZA World of Labor authors.

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  • Panel discussion on the impact of Covid-19 and today's labor market in Europe and the U.S.

    IZA World of Labor Panel discussion on the impact of Covid-19 and today's labor market in Europe and the U.S.: Daniel S. Hamermesh in conversation with Michael C. Burda from Humboldt University, Pierre Cahuc from Sciences Po and Harry J. Holzer from the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University

    Discussion questions:

    - How has the Covid pandemic contributed to the sharp decline in labor-force participation in the developed world? Why are people choosing not to work, or to work less, compared to pre-Covid?
    - In Europe the labor force participation rate (the fraction of people working or looking for work) has already risen to pre-pandemic levels whereas in the U.S. it is still about 1.5% (3 million workers below where it was). Why is that?
    - If labor is so scarce currently, why aren’t real wages rising more rapidly?
    - How has the Covid pandemic contributed to the remarkable acceleration of inflation in the developed world?
    - Are you worried about the impact on unemployment of government effort to combat inflation? If so, why? If not, why not? In the last 70 years, at what point was the macro-labor market (or was most like) what it was today?


    Read related IZA World of Labor content:

    - Covid-19—Pandemics and the labor market
    - National responses to Covid-19:

  • IZA World of Labor Panel discussion on inequality, unemployment, wage setting and inflation

    IZA World of Labor Panel discussion on inequality, unemployment, wage setting and inflation with Richard Rogerson, Professor of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, and Josef Zweimüller, Professor of Economics at the University of Zurich

    Discussion questions:
    - What do your findings about differences in inequality of earnings within occupations imply about such macroeconomic outcomes as unemployment and inflation?
    - We know that it becomes more difficult for workers to leave unemployment the longer they have been unemployed. Is this because the very fact of having been unemployed longer signals employers that the worker is lazy or is it just that longer-term unemployed workers reduce their efforts to find work?
    - What is this distinction between dynamic selection and negative duration dependence? Tell us about the role of subsidies for unemployed people to either be hired or to get off the roles faster – a number of countries do things like this. Does the answer depend upon which of these two phenomenon is going on?
    - The world is currently facing fairly rapid inflation along with rapidly dropping unemployment rates. Is this a standard cyclical phenomenon, or is this something new? Are there any historical precedents for this?

    Read related IZA World of Labor content:
    - Todd Sorensen’s article Do firms’ wage-setting powers increase during recessions?
    - Edward P. Lazear’s article Structural or cyclic? Labor markets in recessions

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  • IZA World of Labor Panel Discussion on Women in Leadership

    IZA World of Labor Panel Discussion on Women in Leadership with Astrid Kunze from the Norwegian School of Economics, Joanne Tan from the Singapore Management University and Zoe B. Cullen from the Harvard Business School

    Discussion questions:
    - What are your predictions: By the year 2050, will there be equality in the corporate leadership in Western countries and perhaps in Asian countries?
    - In Norway, Germany, and to a much lesser extent the US, have substantial parental leave policies. If we expanded that further – made it longer-term, increased the pay – would that solve the glass ceiling problem? Or to what extent would it reduce it? Astrid Kunze has looked at parental leave from short to long-term. What are the efficiency effects of this on the bottom line for corporations? What argument is there for extending parental leave?

    - Would changing corporate culture help? Does transparency in knowing how much female’s managers earn encourage women to ask for a raise?
    - Is it a good side of the Covid-19 crisis that people are not going into the office since male managers are more likely to spend more with male colleagues relative to female colleagues? How does one intervene to disrupt such a dynamic?
    - Would quotas on boards of directors solve the problem? What are the efficiency effects of this on the bottom line for corporations?

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  • Nina Smith on the gender pay gap: An interview with with Daniel S. Hamermesh

    Nina Smith on the gender pay gap: An interview with with Daniel S. Hamermesh

    Some of the questions include:

    What causes the gender pay gap in Europe?

    In most Western countries, looking at time-use data, men are doing more household work, women are doing somewhat less. There should have been some change because of the changing nature of the intra-household bargain but you are saying there isn’t?

    To what extent is it the fact that the woman, rightly or wrongly, is viewed as the manager of the household?

    So, if the child is sick, it is assumed that the woman disrupts her day to take care of the child? Even if it is not a long time, the uncertainty about time at the workplace has an overwhelming effect on an employer’s interest in paying and employing women, is that true?

    What is your opinion on gender quotas and corporate quotas?

    Is it possible that gender quotas are a way to help better-off women to do better?

    What can we do to reduce the gender-wage gap? Do any countries require that the father takes at least a third of the parenting quota?

    In 2050, will the gender pay gap be reduced? Will there be more equality, in your opinion, in household behaviour – e.g. taking care of children?

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