New Publication Russell Sage Foundation

Russell Sage just published the volume comparing low-paid work in five European countries and the USA. It is the final result of an extensive international research project initiated by the New York-based foundation of the same name in 2004. AIAS was the Dutch partner in cooperation with STZ Consultancy.

After the publication in 2008 of five volumes for Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK respectively, a team set out to draw the comparison across these five countries and the USA and also across the five industries – with selected occupations – which were the special focus of all studies: hospitals, supermarkets, call centres, food manufacturing, and hotels.

The main conclusion of the book is two-fold:

  • differences in low-wage employment are more prominent within Europe than between Europe and the USA, and
  • institutions ’ matter’ for the wider quality of low-paid work as the European countries, including the UK, share a better quality of low pay in the sense of
    a ‘social wage’: proper access of the low paid to health care, education, unemployment benefit and the like, which contrasts strongly with the USA.

Together with Geoff Mason of the London-based National Institute (NIESR), Wiemer Salverda at AIAS contributed the chapter on ‘Low pay, working conditions and living standards’. In cooperation with two American and one German colleague, Maarten van Klaveren at AIAS/STZ put retail jobs in comparative perspective in another chapter. Finally, Marc van der Meer, still at AIAS at the time, supported the writing of the chapter on cleaning and nursing in hospitals.

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