BA 154

Industrial Relations

Spring Semester 1997

Professor David Levine

This page last updated on 12/29/97

Reading List and Helpful Links

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 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 readings.

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.)

II. Creating High Performance

1. Business Policy to Create High Performance

a. Taylorism

* Frederick Winslow Taylor, The Principles of Scientific Management, [1911], Norton Library, NY, 1967, pp. 30-67.

Frederick Winslow Taylor archive on the Web.

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?

b. Quality Circles at International Box Makers

* 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

c. Nummi, a Case Study

* "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?

2. Public Policy Toward Workplaces

a. Public Policies to Promote Employee Involvement

* 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?

b. Reinventing Workplace Regulations

* Angela Antonelli "Regulation," Chapter 3 of Issues '96: The Candidate's Briefing Book, The Heritage Foundation, 1996.

Reinventing OSHA: The Maine 200 Program goes National, OSHA, 1997.

Reinventing OSHA, Employment Policy Foundation

Q: Should the government regulate workplace safety? Should regulations be written or enforced differently than they are currently?

c. Learning and Earning

1. Schools

* 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 pro-school-choice organization)

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?

2. The Minimum Wage Debate

* House of Representatives, Democratic Leadership, "Hot Topic: Minimum Wage"
* Maximum Opposition to Minimum Wage Increase (Heritage)
SBB: Maximum Opposition to Minimum Wage Increase
Yahoo! - Political Opinion:Issues:Minimum Wage

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?

C. The Role of Unions

* 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?

D. Getting Disadvantaged Minorities to the High-performance Workplace

1. Measuring Discrimination and Reverse Discrimination

* The Continuing Need to Combat Discrimination and Promote Inclusion (Clinton)

2. Theories of Discrimination

* "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 discriminate?

3. What Business Can (Should?) Do

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)?

4. The Affirmative Action Debate

* Empirical Research on Affirmative Action and Anti-discrimination Clinton Administration)

* 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.

Q: 1. What are the strongest arguments in favor of Proposition 209 (that is, opposed to affirmative action)?
2. What are the strongest arguments opposed to Proposition 209?
3. What policies are appropriate for California schools and universities to follow, given the passage of prop 209?
The Urban Institute - Helping Disconnected Youth

Yahoo! - Government:Politics:Political Opinion:Issues:Affirmative Action

III. Conclusions

IV. Handouts to help with the term paper

* "Some Notes on Writing Questionnaires and Surveys"

* "Some Data Sources on Labor"

* "Peer Review"

Berkeley Business Guide No. 18
The UC Berkeley Libraries
Collected Advice on Research and Writing

Sources on many policies

The Electronic Policy Network -- A network of liberal organizations
LaborNet@IGC Home Page -- Liberal to radical
Feminist Majority Foundation -- Liberal to radical
Index of Social and Urban Policy Texts (DLC/PPI) -- The conservative part of the Democrats.
AllPolitics - Table of Contents
Dunlop Commission Contents -- A report on labor market policy from the Clinton Administration
Issues '96 Table of Contents (Heritage) -- A very conservative and influential group

Employment Policy Foundation A business-backed group

National Performance Review -- From the Clinton Administration


The Dilbert Zone

Economist Jokes

Indices and searchers

Alta Vista: Main Page
Yahoo - Business and Economy
Internet for Economists--Contents
CLICK HERE to go to the Haas School's Home Page

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