Workers & Economic Inequality

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Overdue Overtime: Why You Should Care about Obama’s New Overtime Rules

July 1, 2015 COMMENTARY BY: Mike Cassidy TOPICS: Workers & Economic Inequality, Economic Policy, Poverty

President Obama's latest order has made working overtime worthwhile again—and restored what it means to work a forty-hour work week.


The Problem with Completely Free Markets

TCF fellow Mark Thoma outlines the pros and cons of living in a government regulated economy, explaining that competitive markets to not always equate to free markets. He concludes in saying that, either way, the government must intervene in some capacity in order to regulate goods and services and have consumers make good choices.

To begin, there must be numerous participants on both sides of the market. When, for example, there are only a small number of sellers the price will be too high and the quantity too low relative to the competitive outcome. If the good is a necessity – suppose a single firm has a monopoly on the supply of water – the price could be very high indeed. To combat this problem, the government tries to prevent firms from pursuing strategies to monopolize markets, and regulators break up markets that become monopolized anyway.

Read Thoma's full article from The Fiscal Times.

Tags: small government, regulation, market competition, goods, free markets

Uber: Sharing or Employing?

The app-based car service company, Uber, is under scrutiny regarding its self-proclaimed status as a member of the "sharing economy."


Alternative Labor Hits the Mainstream

The definitive form and function of traditional labor unions is eroding, causing alternative labor organizations to step in and defend the rights of workers.


The Penalty of Caring

Care work is undervalued in America. Policy associate Clio Chang discusses why it's time to recognize care's true worth.

Tags: maternity leave, inequality, eitc, child poverty, caregivers, care workers

What’s swelling the ranks of involuntary part-timers

When workers want to work full-time but can only find part-time work, they are classified as "involuntary part-time" unemployed. Since the recession, involuntary part-time unemployment has not fallen at the same rate as normal unemployment, suggesting that changing structural factors may have created a "new normal"—a permanent, higher level of involuntary part-time unemployment that is not the result of economic downturn. TCF fellow Mark Thoma explores the causes of such a structural change. 

Since the onset of the recession, the service industry—where involuntary part-time unemployment is generally higher—has been ascendant. Demographic factors have also increased the numbers of involuntary part-timers. Workers aged 25 or less are a large part of the voluntarily part-time employed, and the proportion of workers in this category is falling. This may cause employers to turn to other groups to fill part-time positions, which could be increasing the rate of involuntary unemployment.

Thoma's full column is available here.

Tags: workers, unemployment, involuntary part-time unemployment, employment, economic recovery, economic policy


Workers & Economic Inequality

Workers & Economic Inequality

In recent decades, and especially since 2000, the richest Americans have enjoyed soaring income and wealth while the rest of the population's living standards have stagnated. The Century Foundation was one of the first institutions to raise serious concerns about these trends and propose ideas for improving economic conditions for all Americans- not just the fortunate few.

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