I am exploring the skills inherent in traditionally low-paid work such as restaurant servers, home health aides, hairdressers, fast food workers and retail sales clerks.
This project involves the collection and analysis of job evaluation skill content scores. In addition I want to combine this quantitative research with ethnographic accounts and case studies of the low-wage workplace. I am interested in challenging the idea that low-wage workers are necessarily low-skilled. By doing so I hope to illustrate how gender, race and class are used to construct the low-wage labor market.
Pietrykowski, Bruce. "Re-Valuing Low-Wage Work: Service Sector Skills and the Fight for 15." Review of Radical Political Economics 49, 1 (March 2017): 5-29.
Pietrykowski, Bruce. Low-Wage but not Low-Skilled: Occupational Skills and the $15 Hourly Wage. Policy Report, Center for Labor and Community Studies, University of Michigan-Dearborn, October 2016.
This project builds upon research that depicts the economy as a diverse ensemble of practices that sustain a local community. The economy is extended to include non-profit and non-capitalist (cooperative, voluntary, gift-based) forms of material production and social reproduction.
A community economies framework is used to better capture the range of economic activities taking place in low-income, high-unemployment neighborhoods. One example of this approach involved a community-based participatory research project in a Detroit neighborhood.
Community researchers collected information on the skills possessed by their neighbors and the purposes to which those skills could be used within and beyond the traditional labor market.
This project was supported by the UM Graham Sustainability Institute and the Detroit-based non-profit Focus: HOPE.
Pietrykowski, Bruce. "Participatory Economic Research: Benefits and Challenges of Incorporating Participatory Research into Social Economics," Review of Social Economy 73, 3 (2015): 242-262.
Labor Economics: A Heterodox Approach
(Series: What is Political Economy?)
(order from Polity Books or Amazon)
In this book I adopt a pluralistic approach to the study of labor and work. The scope of the book includes perspectives from feminist, Post-Keynesian, institutional and Marxian economic theories.
Key issues and themes motivating the book are: wage stagnation, income inequality, gender gaps, racial and ethnic discrimination in employment, labor market segmentation, caring labor, high performance work systems, living wage policies, automation and cooperative workplace alternatives, .
A special feature of this book is the attention paid to real world descriptions of laborers and their conditions of work. The experience of workers will be used to develop a critical understanding of how labor markets operate.
Related Additional Research:
Pietrykowski, Bruce. "The Return to Caring Skills: Gender, Class, and Occupational Wages in the U.S.," Feminist Economics.23, 4: 32-61.