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Russell Sage Foundation

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Low-wage work in France

Individual Author: 
Caroli, Eve
Gautie, Jerome

In France, low wages have historically inspired tremendous political controversy. The social and political issues at stake center on integrating the working class into society and maintaining the stability of the republican regime. A variety of federal policies—including high minimum wages and strong employee protection—serve to ensure that the low-wage workforce stays relatively small. Low-Wage Work in France examines both the benefits and drawbacks of this politically inspired system of worker protection.

Staircases or treadmills?: Labor market intermediaries and economic opportunity in a changing economy

Individual Author: 
Benner, Chris
Leete, Laura
Pastor, Manuel

Globalization, technological change, and deregulation have made the American marketplace increasingly competitive in recent decades, but for many workers this “new economy” has entailed heightened job insecurity, lower wages, and scarcer benefits. As the job market has grown more volatile, a variety of labor market intermediaries—organizations that help job seekers find employment—have sprung up, from private temporary agencies to government “One-Stop Career Centers.” In Staircases or Treadmills?

Divergent paths: Economic mobility in the new American labor market

Individual Author: 
Bernhardt, Annette
Morris, Martina
Handcock, Mark
Scott, Marc

The promise of upward mobility—the notion that everyone has the chance to get ahead—is one of this country's most cherished ideals, a hallmark of the American Dream. But in today's volatile labor market, the tradition of upward mobility for all may be a thing of the past. In a competitive world of deregulated markets and demanding shareholders, many firms that once offered the opportunity for advancement to workers have remade themselves as leaner enterprises with more flexible work forces.

Consequences of growing up poor

Individual Author: 
Duncan, Greg
Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne

One in five American children now live in families with incomes below the poverty line, and their prospects are not bright. Low income is statistically linked with a variety of poor outcomes for children, from low birth weight and poor nutrition in infancy to increased chances of academic failure, emotional distress, and unwed childbirth in adolescence. To address these problems it is not enough to know that money makes a difference; we need to understand how.

Latinas and African American women at work

Individual Author: 
Browne, Irene

Accepted wisdom about the opportunities available to African American and Latina women in the U.S. labor market has changed dramatically. Although the 1970s saw these women earning almost as much as their white counterparts, in the 1980s their relative wages began falling behind, and the job prospects plummeted for those with little education and low skills. At the same time, African American women more often found themselves the sole support of their families.

Prismatic metropolis: Inequality in Los Angeles

Individual Author: 
Bobo, Lawrence
Oliver, Melvin
Johnson, James
Valenzuela, Abel

This book cuts through the powerful mythology surrounding Los Angeles to reveal the causes of inequality in a city that has weathered rapid population change, economic restructuring, and fractious ethnic relations. The sources of disadvantage and the means of getting ahead differ greatly among the city's myriad ethnic groups. The demand for unskilled labor is stronger here than in other cities, allowing Los Angeles's large population of immigrant workers with little education to find work in light manufacturing and low-paid service jobs.

The Boston renaissance: Race, space, and economic change in an American metropolis

Individual Author: 
Bluestone, Barry
Stevenson, Mary

This volume documents metropolitan Boston's metamorphosis from a casualty of manufacturing decline in the 1970s to a paragon of the high-tech and service industries in the 1990s. The city's rebound has been part of a wider regional renaissance, as new commercial centers have sprung up outside the city limits. A stream of immigrants have flowed into the area, redrawing the map of ethnic relations in the city.

Won't you be my neighbor? Race, class, and residence in Los Angeles

Individual Author: 
Charles, Zubrinsky Camille

Los Angeles is a city of delicate racial and ethnic balance. As evidenced by the 1965 Watts violence, the 1992 Rodney King riots, and this year’s award-winning film Crash, the city’s myriad racial groups coexist uneasily together, often on the brink of confrontation. In fact, Los Angeles is highly segregated, with racial and ethnic groups clustered in homogeneous neighborhoods.

Putting children first: How low-wage working mothers manage child care

Individual Author: 
Chaudry, Ajay

In the five years following the passage of federal welfare reform law, the labor force participation of low-income, single mothers with young children climbed by more than 25 percent. With significantly more hours spent outside the home, single working mothers face a serious childcare crunch—how can they provide quality care for their children?

Saving our children from poverty: What the United States can learn from France

Individual Author: 
Bergmann, Barbara R.

More than one in five American children live below the poverty line, a proportion that exceeds that of any other advanced nation. Although large numbers of Western European children live with single or unemployed parents, or belong to disadvantaged minorities, they are better shielded from severe deprivation by carefully designed public assistance programs.