I’ve put the introductory chapter online.
Here’s a summary:
Income inequality has been rising in many of the world’s affluent countries, due to a variety of economic and social shifts. Redistribution can help, but government revenues are threatened by globalization and population aging. Like a growing number of observers, I see an increase in the employment rate as a way out of this impasse; it enlarges the tax base, allowing tax revenues to rise without an increase in tax rates. The question is: Can egalitarian institutions and policies be coupled with employment growth?
In the book I assess the experiences of rich nations since the late 1970s. I examine the impact on employment of six key policies and institutions: wage levels at the low end of the labor market, employment protection regulations, government benefit generosity, taxes, skills, and women-friendly policies.
It turns out that there is no parsimonious set of institutions and policies that have been key to good (or bad) employment performance. The comparative experience features multiple paths to employment success, including low-inequality ones. This suggests reason for optimism about possibilities for a high-employment, high-equality society.
“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.” — Gøsta Esping-Andersen, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
“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 systematic fashion. Very sensibly, the analysis yields policy recommendations that are specific by institutional context. For students of comparative political economy, the particular questions that Kenworthy addresses are now settled for some time to come.” — Jonas Pontusson, Princeton University
PART I EQUALITY
2. Why Should We Care About Inequality?
3. Sources of Equality and Inequality: Wages, Jobs, Households, and Redistribution
PART II JOBS
4. Measuring and Analyzing Employment Performance
5. Low-End Wages
6. Employment Protection Regulations
7. Government Benefits
10. Women-Friendly Policies
11. Toward a High-Employment, High-Equality Society