IZA World of Labor
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IZA World of Labor articles provide concise, evidence-based analysis of policy-relevant topics in labor economics. We recognize that the articles will prompt discussion and possibly controversy. Opinion articles will capture these ideas and debates concisely, and anchor them with real-world examples. Opinions stated here do not necessarily reflect those of the IZA.

  • April 20, 2017

    Labor market issues in the 2017 French presidential election

    High unemployment in France is one of the main issues of the presidential election of May 2017.

  • April 07, 2017

    Immigration and native workers' health

    The public debate on immigration tends to focus on its effects on wages and employment. It typically fails to consider the effects of immigration on working conditions that are known to affect employees’ health.

  • March 20, 2017

    Not bad at all—the true state of the US labor market

    In his February 25 New York Times opinion piece “A time for immodest proposals” Ross Douthat quoted a right-leaning economist who stated that the US labor market is not doing well, with unemployment high and wages stagnating. This seems to be a general opinion, with Donald Trump complaining during the election campaign about high unemployment and Bernie Sanders arguing about falling living standards. With a carefully chosen base period for comparison, one can easily demonstrate either improving or declining conditions; but the correct basis is a time when unemployment is about the same as today’s 4.8%. As the figure shows, that time is 2000.

  • March 07, 2017

    Equal pay legislation and the gender wage gap

    Women earn less than men. In the US the gap is approximately 22%. Among OECD countries the gap averages 15%. One might argue this indicates rampant discrimination. But the story is far more complicated.

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