The capability approach developed by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen has become an important new paradigm in thinking about development. However, despite its theoretical and philosophical attractiveness, it has been less easy to measure or to translate into policy. This volume addresses these issues in the context of poverty and justice. Part I offers a set of conceptual essays that debate the strength of the often misunderstood individual focus of the capability approach. Part II investigates the techniques by which we can measure and compare capabilities, and how we can integrate them into poverty comparisons and policy advice. Finally, Part III looks at how we can apply the capability approach to different regions and contexts. Written by a team of international scholars, The Capability Approach is a valuable resource for researchers and graduate students concerned with the debate over the value of the capability approach and its potential applications.Read More
Tag: Quality of work
This book presents new theories and international empirical evidence on the state of work and employment around the world. Changes in production systems, economic conditions and regulatory conditions are posing new questions about the growing use by employers of precarious forms of work, the contradictory approaches of governments towards employment and social policy, and the ability of trade unions to improve the distribution of decent employment conditions. The book proposes a ‘new labour market segmentation approach’ for the investigation of issues of job quality, employment inequalities, and precarious work. This approach is distinctive in seeking to place the changing international patterns and experiences of labour market inequalities in the wider context of shifting gender relations, regulatory regimes and production structures.Read More
This book provides the first systematic assessment of trends in inequality in job quality in Britain in recent decades. It assesses the pattern of change drawing on the nationally representative Skills and Employment Surveys (SES) carried out at regular intervals from 1986 to 2012. These surveys collect data from workers themselves thereby providing a unique picture of trends in job quality.
The book is concerned both with wage and non-wage inequalities (focusing, in particular on skills, training, task discretion, work intensity, organizational participation, and job security), and how these inequalities relate to class, gender, contract status, unionisation, and type of employer. Amid rising wage inequality there has nevertheless been some improvement in the relative job quality experienced by women, part-time employees, and temporary workers. Yet the book reveals the remarkable persistence of major inequalities in the working conditions of other categories of employee across periods of both economic boom and crisis.
Beginning with a theoretical overview, before describing the main data series, this book examines how job quality differs between groups and across time.Read More
The book makes a major new contribution to the sociology of employment by comparing the quality of working life in European societies with very different institutional systems – France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain and Sweden. It focuses in particular on skills and skill development, opportunities for training, the scope for initiative in work, the difficulty of combining work and family life and the security of employment. Drawing on a range of nationally representative surveys, it reveals striking differences in the quality of work in different European countries. It also provides for the first time rigorous comparative evidence on the experiences of different types of employee and an assessment of whether there has been a trend over time to greater polarization between a core workforce of relatively privileged employees and a peripheral workforce suffering from cumulative disadvantage. It explores the relevance of three influential theoretical perspectives, focussing respectively on the common dynamics of capitalist societies, differences in production regimes between capitalist societies and differences in the institutional systems of employment regulation. It argues that it is the third of these – an ’employment regime’ perspective – that provides the most convincing account of the factors that affect the quality of work in capitalist societies. The findings underline the importance of differences in national policies for people’s experiences of work and point to the need for a renewal at European level of initiatives for improving the quality of work.Read More
Good Jobs, Bad Jobs: The Rise Of Polarized And Precarious Employment Systems In The United States 1970s To 2000s
The economic boom of the 1990s veiled a grim reality: in addition to the growing gap between rich and poor, the gap between good and bad quality jobs was also expanding. The postwar prosperity of the mid-twentieth century had enabled millions of American workers to join the middle class, but as author Arne L. Kalleberg shows, by the 1970s this upward movement had slowed, in part due to the steady disappearance of secure, well-paying industrial jobs. Ever since, precarious employment has been on the rise―paying low wages, offering few benefits, and with virtually no long-term security. Today, the polarization between workers with higher skill levels and those with low skills and low wages is more entrenched than ever. Good Jobs, Bad Jobs traces this trend to large-scale transformations in the American labor market and the changing demographics of low-wage workers. Kalleberg draws on nearly four decades of survey data, as well as his own research, to evaluate trends in U.S. job quality and suggest ways to improve American labor market practices and social policies. Good Jobs, Bad Jobs provides an insightful analysis of how and why precarious employment is gaining ground in the labor market and the role these developments have played in the decline of the middle class. Kalleberg shows that by the 1970s, government deregulation, global competition, and the rise of the service sector gained traction, while institutional protections for workers―such as unions and minimum-wage legislation―weakened. Together, these forces marked the end of postwar security for American workers. The composition of the labor force also changed significantly; the number of dual-earner families increased, as did the share of the workforce comprised of women, non-white, and immigrant workers. Of these groups, blacks, Latinos, and immigrants remain concentrated in the most precarious and low-quality jobs, with educational attainment being the leading indicator of who will earn the highest wages and experience the most job security and highest levels of autonomy and control over their jobs and schedules. Kalleberg demonstrates, however, that building a better safety net―increasing government responsibility for worker health care and retirement, as well as strengthening unions―can go a long way toward redressing the effects of today’s volatile labor market. There is every reason to expect that the growth of precarious jobs―which already make up a significant share of the American job market―will continue. Good Jobs, Bad Jobs deftly shows that the decline in U.S. job quality is not the result of fluctuations in the business cycle, but rather the result of economic restructuring and the disappearance of institutional protections for workers. Only government, employers and labor working together on long-term strategies―including an expanded safety net, strengthened legal protections, and better training opportunities―can help reverse this trend.Read More