I am a Professor of Sociology and Resident Fellow of the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy at Washington University-St. Louis. My research primarily focuses on labor market inequality and workplace dynamics in the U.S. and other advanced economies.

Jake Rosenfeld

You‘re Paid What You’re Worth

And Other Myths of the Modern Economy
by Jake Rosenfeld

This very smart book explores an issue that is rarely discussed, but extremely important: why you are paid what you’re paid, and why are so many people (other than CEOs) paid less than they deserve? In this lucid, original work, Jake Rosenfeld argues that employers have too much power in setting pay levels while workers have far too little, and he examines what can be done to right that balance to create fairer pay levels for everyone.

A flat-out revelation of a book by one of the nation’s top scholars of the labor market, You’re Paid What You’re Worth is required reading for anyone who cares about the future of work in America. With concise prose informed by history and cutting-edge research, Rosenfeld dispels one myth after another about how the modern economy works and champions thoughtful solutions for how American prosperity can once more lead to broad social uplift.

The growth in earnings inequality requires us to understand what determines pay in the economy. Jake Rosenfeld’s book provides nuanced and bold insight into the question of ‘who gets what and why?’ He challenges widely held assumptions and approaches in this area by probing the impact of fairness norms, organizational inertia and mimicry, and most importantly power in determining pay. In so doing, he provides novel and provocative perspectives on policies to address this pressing problem.

Jake Rosenfeld pulls back the curtain on the multifaceted cultural, institutional, and market forces at play in wage-setting. This timely book illuminates the power dynamics and often arbitrary forces that have contributed to the egregious inequality in the US labor market – and then lays out a clear blueprint for progressive change.

You’re Paid What You’re Worth is a lively and rigorous study that will change debates over labor markets. Rosenfeld’s original research serves as a very important rejoinder to old ideas in economics and to conventional wisdom in the mass public.


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