IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberhi/0058.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Labor Markets in the Twentieth Century

Author

Listed:
  • Claudia Goldin

Abstract

The study of the labor market across the past hundred years reveals enormous progress and also that history repeats itself and has come full circle in some ways. Progress has been made in the rewards of labor -- wages, benefits, and increased leisure through shorter hours, vacation time, sick leave, and earlier retirement. Labor has been granted added security on the job and more safety nets when unemployed, ill, and old. Progress in the labor market has interacted with societal changes. Women's increased participation in the paid labor force is the most significant. The virtual elimination of child and full-time juvenile labor is another. Two of the most pressing economic issues of our day demonstrate that history repeats itself. Labor productivity has been lagging since the 1970s. It was equally sluggish at other junctures in American history, but the present has unique features. The current slowdown in the United States has been accompanied by a widening in the wage structure. Rising inequality is a far more serious problem because of the coincidence. The wage structure was as wide in 1940 as today but there is, to date, no hard evidence when it began its upward trend. The wage structure has, therefore, come full circle to what it was more than a half century ago. Union strength has also come full circle to that at the turn of this century.

Suggested Citation

  • Claudia Goldin, 1994. "Labor Markets in the Twentieth Century," NBER Historical Working Papers 0058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberhi:0058
    Note: DAE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/h0058.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Raff, Daniel M.G., 1988. "Wage Determination Theory and the Five-Dollar Day at Ford," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(02), pages 387-399, June.
    2. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1992. "School Quality and Black-White Relative Earnings: A Direct Assessment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 151-200.
    3. Goldin, Claudia, 1992. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195072709.
    4. Simon Kuznets & Elizabeth Jenks, 1953. "Shares of Upper Income Groups in Income and Savings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kuzn53-1.
    5. James, John A. & Skinner, Jonathan S., 1985. "The Resolution of the Labor-Scarcity Paradox," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(03), pages 513-540, September.
    6. Donohue, John J, III & Heckman, James, 1991. "Continuous versus Episodic Change: The Impact of Civil Rights Policy on the Economic Status of Blacks," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 1603-1643, December.
    7. Goldin, Claudia, 1998. "America's Graduation from High School: The Evolution and Spread of Secondary Schooling in the Twentieth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(02), pages 345-374, June.
    8. Romer, Christina, 1986. "Spurious Volatility in Historical Unemployment Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(1), pages 1-37, February.
    9. Lawrence F. Katz, 1986. "Layoffs, Recall and the Duration of Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 1825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Goldin, Claudia D, 1991. "The Role of World War II in the Rise of Women's Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 741-756, September.
    11. Jonathan S. Leonard, 1985. "The Effectiveness of Equal Employment Law and Affirmative Action Regulation," NBER Working Papers 1745, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Moen, Jon, 1987. "The Labor of Older Men: A Comment," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(03), pages 761-767, September.
    13. Claudia Goldin & Robert A. Margo, 1992. "The Great Compression: The Wage Structure in the United States at Mid-Century," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 1-34.
    14. repec:hrv:faseco:30703979 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Simon Kuznets, 1933. "Seasonal Variations in Industry and Trade," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kuzn33-1.
    16. Price V. Fishback & Shawn Everett Kantor, 1995. "Did Workers Pay for the Passage of Workers' Compensation Laws?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 713-742.
    17. O'Neill, June, 1990. "The Role of Human Capital in Earnings Differences between Black and White Men," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 25-45, Fall.
    18. Clarence D. Long, 1958. "The Labor Force Under Changing Income and Employment," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number long58-1.
    19. Chinhui Juhn & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert H. Topel, 1991. "Why Has the Natural Rate of Unemployment Increased over Time?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 75-142.
    20. Leonard, Jonathan S, 1989. "Women and Affirmative Action," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 61-75, Winter.
    21. Kesselman, Jonathan R & Savin, N Eugene, 1978. "Three-and-a-Half Million Workers Never Were Lost," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 16(2), pages 205-225, April.
    22. Lawrence F. Katz & Bruce D. Meyer, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance, Recall Expectations, and Unemployment Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(4), pages 973-1002.
    23. Alan B. Krueger & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Reflections on the Inter-Industry Wage Structure," NBER Working Papers 1968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Romer, Christina, 1986. "New Estimates of Prewar Gross National Product and Unemployment," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 341-352, June.
    25. Leonard, Jonathan S, 1990. "The Impact of Affirmative Action Regulation and Equal Employment Law on Black Employment," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 47-63, Fall.
    26. Smith, James P & Welch, Finis R, 1989. "Black Economic Progress after Myrdal," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 519-564, June.
    27. repec:hrv:faseco:30703972 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Bellou, Andriana & Cardia, Emanuela, 2016. "Occupations after WWII: The legacy of Rosie the Riveter," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 124-142.
    2. Susan B. Carter & Richard Sutch, 1997. "Historical Perspectives on the Economic Consequences of Immigration into the United States," NBER Historical Working Papers 0106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N31 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberhi:0058. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.