Monopsony in Motion: Imperfect Competition in Labor Markets

Princeton University Press
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What happens if an employer cuts wages by one cent? Much of labor economics is built on the assumption that all the workers will quit immediately. Here, Alan Manning mounts a systematic challenge to the standard model of perfect competition. Monopsony in Motion stands apart by analyzing labor markets from the real-world perspective that employers have significant market (or monopsony) power over their workers. Arguing that this power derives from frictions in the labor market that make it time-consuming and costly for workers to change jobs, Manning re-examines much of labor economics based on this alternative and equally plausible assumption.

The book addresses the theoretical implications of monopsony and presents a wealth of empirical evidence. Our understanding of the distribution of wages, unemployment, and human capital can all be improved by recognizing that employers have some monopsony power over their workers. Also considered are policy issues including the minimum wage, equal pay legislation, and caps on working hours. In a monopsonistic labor market, concludes Manning, the "free" market can no longer be sustained as an ideal and labor economists need to be more open-minded in their evaluation of labor market policies. Monopsony in Motion will represent for some a new fundamental text in the advanced study of labor economics, and for others, an invaluable alternative perspective that henceforth must be taken into account in any serious consideration of the subject.

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About the author

Alan Manning is Professor of Economics and Director of the Labour Markets Programme in the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics. He has published numerous papers on labor economics.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Dec 3, 2013
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9781400850679
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economics / General
Business & Economics / Labor
Political Science / Labor & Industrial Relations
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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David Card and Alan B. Krueger have already made national news with their pathbreaking research on the minimum wage. Here they present a powerful new challenge to the conventional view that higher minimum wages reduce jobs for low-wage workers. In a work that has important implications for public policy as well as for the direction of economic research, the authors put standard economic theory to the test, using data from a series of recent episodes, including the 1992 increase in New Jersey's minimum wage, the 1988 rise in California's minimum wage, and the 1990-91 increases in the federal minimum wage. In each case they present a battery of evidence showing that increases in the minimum wage lead to increases in pay, but no loss in jobs.

A distinctive feature of Card and Krueger's research is the use of empirical methods borrowed from the natural sciences, including comparisons between the "treatment" and "control" groups formed when the minimum wage rises for some workers but not for others. In addition, the authors critically reexamine the previous literature on the minimum wage and find that it, too, lacks support for the claim that a higher minimum wage cuts jobs. Finally, the effects of the minimum wage on family earnings, poverty outcomes, and the stock market valuation of low-wage employers are documented. Overall, this book calls into question the standard model of the labor market that has dominated economists' thinking on the minimum wage. In addition, it will shift the terms of the debate on the minimum wage in Washington and in state legislatures throughout the country.

With a new preface discussing new data, Myth and Measurement continues to shift the terms of the debate on the minimum wage.

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