Since the early 1980s, a vast number of jobs have been created in the affluent economies of the industrialized world. Many workers are doing more skilled and fulfilling jobs, and getting paid more for their trouble. Yet it is often alleged that the quality of work life has deteriorated, with a substantial and rising proportion of jobs providing low wages and little security, or requiring unusually hard and stressful effort.
In this unique and authoritative formal account of changing job quality, economist Francis Green highlights contrasting trends, using quantitative indicators drawn from public opinion surveys and administrative data. In most affluent countries average pay levels have risen along with economic growth, a major exception being the United States. Skill requirements have increased, potentially meaning a more fulfilling time at work. Set against these beneficial trends, however, are increases in inequality, a strong intensification of work effort, diminished job satisfaction, and less employee influence over daily work tasks. Using an interdisciplinary approach, Demanding Work shows how aspects of job quality are related, and how changes in the quality of work life stem from technological change and transformations in the politico-economic environment. The book concludes by discussing what individuals, firms, unions, and governments can do to counter declining job quality.
"A reliable account of the extent to which different key facets of work life are changing."--Journal of Economic Literature
"[A]rguably the best overall account available anywhere of the circumstances of jobs and workers across the developed world. . . . It is an important read for anyone concerned about the state of working people around the world as well as the future of modern economies."--Peter Capelli, British Journal of Industrial Relations
"It is refreshing to see an economist incorporating other social scientist approaches to work, and draw broader conclusions about job quality. . . . [T]his is a well researched, and thought provoking read."--John Neugebauer, Economic Issues
"This is a fine piece of work which will make a major impact. It brings together a large volume of excellent research by its author over a number of years. This is the sort of book that applied economists should write, but which few do. All credit to Francis Green for producing such a tour de force."--Keith Whitfield, Cardiff University Business School, author of Researching the World of Work
"Demanding Work addresses a highly significant area of research in the social sciences on a timely topic. Pulling together a range of issues falling under the umbrella of quality of work, Francis Green puts the overall issue prominently on the radar screen of economists, who have long neglected it, as well as higher up the political agenda."--Stephen Wood, Director, ESRC Centre for Innovation and Organisation, University of Sheffield
"This well-written book tells an interesting and important story in a natural way, addressing shifts in various aspects of job quality over recent years before finally summing things up and looking at policy issues. Reading it was an enjoyable--and informative--experience."--Andrew Clark, Department and Laboratory of Applied and Theoretical Economics (DELTA), école normale supérieure, Paris
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