Living Wages, Equal Wages: Gender and Labour Market Policies in the United States
Routledge – 2002 – 272 pages
Wage setting has historically been a deeply political and cultural as well as economic process. This informative and accessible book explores how US wage regulations in the twentieth century took gender, race-ethnicity and class into account. Focusing on social reform movements for living wages and equal wages, it offers an interdisciplinary account of how women's work and the remuneration for that work has changed along with the massive transformations in the economy and family structures.
The controversial issue of establishing living wages for all workers makes this book both a timely and indispensable contribution to this wide ranging debate, and it will surely become required reading for anyone with an interest in modern economic issues.
'This book addresses an issue that is particularly timely after years of growing income inequality and draconian decreases in welfare support for single mothers which is likely to work increasing hardship as unemployment rises. The authors deserve credit for making it clear throughout that their concern is not so much with economics, as practised by neoclassical economists, as with political economy. The difference, as they make clear, is that the former takes full cognizance of the importance of social conditions and government policies, not merely market forces, in determining wages. This is an important lesson for an economics profession that has tended to resist any efforts to improve upon a wage structure that rewards some with riches beyond the dreams of avarice and leaves others destitute.' - Marianne Ferber, Professor Emerita, University of Illinois, USA