This page last updated on 12/29/97
The readings are found in the reader and on the Web. I will also distribute a handouts and articles on current events. Mandatory readings are marked with a "*", others are background.
You are responsible for having a computer account and learning how to browse the Web. Accounts are available for all students enrolled in this course from the Haas computer center (S300).
The BA 154 homepage is found at http://haas.berkeley.edu/~levine/ba154/homepage.html.
It contains links to all of the readings on the Web found on this
reading list, as well as links to a number of optional supplementary
I. The State of the American Labor Market
* "The Labor Market" and "Inequality and Economic
Rewards" in Economic Report of the President, 1997,
pp. 139-157 and 163-185.
Q: 1. What has been the trend in inflation-adjusted pay over the last quarter century?
2. How does your answer depend on how you measure inflation?
3. How does your answer change depending on whether you focus
on the middle vs. top of the income distribution?
(For a more upbeat summary of the labor market, see Employment
Policy Foundation, Labor Day Report.)
* Frederick Winslow Taylor, The Principles of Scientific Management,
, Norton Library, NY, 1967, pp. 30-67.
Frederick Winslow Taylor archive on
Q: 1. In what sort of circumstances would you expect a Taylorized workplace to be most successful?
2. What are two reasons workers might restrict output under Taylorism?
* Case to be handed out.
The Road to Highperformance Workplaces: A Guide to Better Jobs and Better Business Results, Dept. of Labor, 1994. (Hint: I co-authored this, so while it is optional reading, I sure think it is good...)
Quality Resources Online
* "Ergonomics, Employee Involvement And the Toyota Production
System: A Case Study of Nummi's 1993 Model Introduction,"
Paul S. Adler, Barbara Goldoftas, David I. Levine, excerpted from
Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 1997.
Q: NUMMI is one of the most widely touted successes of employee involvement.
1. How does NUMMI address the problems with employee involvement
found at International Box Makers?
At the same time, in this case the union called in an outside regulator to punish the employer.
2. What went wrong in the 1993 model change?
3. What could management have done differently?
4. What should management do differently for the truck launch
a year later?
* Reinventing the Workplace, chapter 8.
Q: What policy described in this reading is least practical or
desirable? Why? Is there an alternative means to achieve the goal
of this policy?
* Angela Antonelli "Regulation,"
Chapter 3 of Issues '96: The Candidate's Briefing Book,
The Heritage Foundation, 1996.
The Maine 200 Program goes National, OSHA, 1997.
Employment Policy Foundation
Q: Should the government regulate workplace safety? Should regulations
be written or enforced differently than they are currently?
* Denis P. Doyle. The Social Consequences of School Choice: Why
It Matters Where Poor Children Go to School, Heritage Foundation
Backgrounder #1088 7/25/96
* Richard Rothstein, "The Myth of Public School Failure,"
The American Prospect no. 13 (Spring, 1993)
Home page for The Center for Education Reform (a
Q: 1. What are the strongest arguments in favor of school choice?
2. What are the strongest arguments against school choice?
3. How does the merit of these arguments change as the form of
choice (public vs. private schools, for example) change?
Q: 1. What are the effects of a higher minimum wage on training, employment, and earnings of low-wage workers? Does your answer depend on whether you are referring to minorities, teens, or young adults?
2. What is the correct level of the minimum wage: zero, 1979 purchasing power, or some other level? Why?
* Richard Freeman and James Medoff, What Do Unions Do?
Basic Books, pp. 3-25, 162-180.
* "Does the NLRA Still Protect Workers' Right to Organize?"
Bill Dickens, Testimony before the Labor Sub-Committee of the
Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources January 29, 1988.
AFL-CIO Home Page
Q: 1. Do most Americans have the right to organize themselves into a trade union?
2. In what ways would the nation be better or worse off if citizens
found it easier to organize a union?
* "Theories of Discrimination," Reynolds, Masters Moser,
Labor Economics, 10th ed., pp. 219-228.
Q: 1.When will competitive markets punish employers that discriminate?
2. When will competitive markets punish employers that do not
John or Marsha mini-case: Assume that you are a manager
choosing between two salespeople to hire. Marsha has slightly
better skills, motivation, and talent for selling, but John will
sell more because customers typically prefer dealing with a man.
Assume that hiring Marsha will lower profits even in the long
run; that is, discrimination by customers outweighs any good for
public relations, increase in morale and motivation for female
employees at the firm, increased labor supply in the long run
as the firm gets a good reputation, etc.
Q: 1. Whom should you promote? Why? Does your answer depend on the circumstances of the firm, the worker, or yourself?
2. Would the answer change if these were a white and black man?
If the discriminated-against person were of your background (assuming
you are not female or black)?
* Reforming Affirmative Action in Employment (Nelson Lund, Heritage)
* Ballot arguments pro & con California's Proposition 209 : Prohibition Against Discrimination or Preferential Treatment by State and Other Public Entities. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
Yahoo! - Government:Politics:Political Opinion:Issues:Affirmative Action
* "Some Notes on Writing Questionnaires and Surveys"
* "Some Data Sources on Labor"
* "Peer Review"
Employment Policy Foundation A business-backed group
The Dilbert Zone