Over the years a number of suggestions have been made for improving labor productivity by changing the manner in which laborers are compensated for their efforts. The ideas presented and analyzed in this volume have all been put into practice, in modified form or on a small scale, in the United States or elsewhere. Some are new; others quite old.
David I. Levine and Laura D'Andrea Tyson consider the effects of employee participation in decisionmaking on firm performance, and Martin L. Weitzman and Douglas L. Kruse discuss the implications of profit sharing and related forms of pay for group performance. Michael A. Conte and Jan Svejnar analyze employee stock ownership plans in the United States and other forms of worker ownership in Europe; Masanore Hashimoto uses a transaction-cost perspective to assess Japanese employment and wage systems. Daniel J. B. Mitchell, David Lewin, and Edward E. Lawler III give an overall analysis of traditional and alternative pay systems, their history, development, and curent use, and recommend further experimentation with alternative compensation plans to ensure more adaptability on the part of U.S. firms. Blinder provides an overview of the findings and conclusions.
Alan S. Blinder is the Gordon S. Rentschler Memorial Professor of Economics and codirector of the Center for Economic Policy Studies at Princeton University. He is also a partner in Promontory Financial Group and vice chairman of the G7 Group. He served as vice chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from June 1994 until January 1996 and as a member of President Clinton's original Council of Economic Advisers from January 1993 until June 1994.
Based on the 1996 Lionel Robbins Lectures, this readable book deals succinctly, in a nontechnical manner, with a wide variety of issues in monetary policy. The book also includes the author's suggested solution to an age-old problem in monetary theory: what it means for monetary policy to be "neutral."
Blinder considers three of the most significant aspects of the revolution. The first is the shift toward transparency: whereas central bankers once believed in secrecy and even mystery, greater openness is now considered a virtue. The second is the transition from monetary policy decisions made by single individuals to decisions made by committees. The third change is a profoundly different attitude toward the markets, from that of stern schoolmarm to one of listener. With keenness and balance, the author examines the origins of these changes and their pros and cons.