David Weil: Fissured Employment

During much of the 20th Century, the critical employment relationship was between large businesses [...]and workers in major sectors of the economy. Increasingly, however, the foci of employment have shifted away from being between major businesses and the workforce that made or delivered their products. Large businesses with national and international reputations that operate at the "top" of their industries continue to dominate the private sector landscape and play critical roles in shaping competition in their markets. However, they no longer directly employ legions of workers. Instead, like rocks split by elements, employment has been fissured away from these market leaders and transferred to a complicated network of smaller business units. Lower-level businesses typically operate in far more competitive markets than those of the firms that shifted employment to them, often with negative consequences on employment conditions. This paper will explore the causes of fissuring and its consequences on workplace conditions. Based on this analysis, it explores a variety of policy responses to deal with fissuring.

Tags: faculty, boston university, research, School of Management, faculty research day

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