‘There’s a Price to Pay in Order Not to Have a Price’: Whistleblowing and the Employment Relationship

Source: Luca Carollo, Marco Guerci, Nicoletta Parisi, Work, Employment and Society, OnlineFirst, Published November 26, 2019
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From the abstract:
Whistleblowing is a typical and widespread phenomenon in contemporary societies, and it has the potential to illuminate many of the issues that affect the workplace today. By recounting the story of an Italian whistleblower who suffered harsh professional retaliation and severe personal consequences because of his disclosure of accounting malpractices in his employing organization, this article aims to furnish a series of insights and stimulate avenues for future research. In particular, the account yields rich insights into current pervasive forms of managerial control of the workforce, the role of traditional and new actors in influencing the power dynamics of the employment relationship, and the interplay between the organizational and institutional levels in the regulation of labour relations.

Whistleblowing Policies in American States: A Nationwide Analysis

Source: Jonathan P. West, James S. Bowman, The American Review of Public Administration, Volume: 50 issue: 2, February 2020
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From the abstract:
American states have statutes with whistleblowing protection provisions for employees. These laws may focus on the duty to divulge misconduct, procedures for reporting disclosures, and protection from retaliation. The research question is, “What is the scope, content, and perceived effectiveness of these provisions?” The premise is that they have value, albeit uncertain, in the practice of public administration. To investigate this subject area, documentary and attitudinal data were gathered. This article presents the results of the first comprehensive study of state-level whistleblowing provisions. The importance of this work is evident for two reasons. First, though corruption varies across state lines, overall it is common. Second, given the low visibility and high complexity of organizational activities, detection of abuse rests in large part with the workforce.

Why Artificial Intelligence Will Not Outsmart Complex Knowledge Work

Source: Lene Pettersen, Volume: 33 issue: 6, Issue published: December 2019
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From the abstract:
The potential role of artificial intelligence in improving organisations’ performance and productivity has been promoted regularly and vociferously since the 1960s. Artificial intelligence is today reborn out of big business, similar to the occurrences surrounding big data in the 1990s, and expectations are high regarding AI’s potential role in businesses. This article discusses different aspects of knowledge work that tend to be ignored in the debate about whether or not artificial intelligence systems are a threat to jobs. A great deal of knowledge work concerns highly complex problem solving and must be understood in contextual, social and relational terms. These aspects have no generic nor universal rules and solutions and, thus, cannot be easily replaced by artificial intelligence or programmed into computer systems, nor are they constructed based on models of the rational brain. In this respect, this article draws on philosopher Herbert Dreyfus’ thesis regarding artificial intelligence.

Rising Student Debt and the 2020 Election

Source: James Kvaal, Jessica Thompson, University of New Hampshire Carsey School of Public Policy, February 2020

From the introduction:

In the 2020 presidential election campaign, college affordability has become a central household economic issue that nearly every candidate feels compelled to address.

Students and their families understand that an education beyond high school—whether a job training certificate, a community college degree, a four-year university diploma, or a graduate degree—is more critical to their future than ever. Employers know that educated workers are key to productivity. Most policymakers understand that increased educational attainment is essential to continued economic growth and shared prosperity.

However, despite college’s growing importance, there has been a widening gulf over the last several decades between college costs and students’ ability to pay them, and as a result American families have faced a rising tide of student debt. State funding for public colleges and universities has steadily declined, contributing to higher tuitions for most students. Federal student debt outstanding now totals $1.5 trillion, up from $577 billion in 2008.1 While education loans help many earn college degrees, many others are left worse off for having attended college. More than a million former students default on their loans each year.

From eliminating college tuition to canceling student debt, many of the men and women who seek to lead the country have proposed ambitious investments in college affordability. If enacted, these proposals would represent an unprecedented federal commitment to college. Nearly all of the candidates propose hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars in new spending. This perspectives brief explores the challenge of college affordability and summarizes the campaign proposals to address it.

America First, Immigrants Last: American Xenophobia Then and Now

Source: Erika Lee, The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, Volume 19, Issue 1, January 2020
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From the abstract:

Global mass migration was one of the most defining features of the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era. But so was intense xenophobia. This article offers a new definition of xenophobia and examines how xenophobia helped to drive some of the most defining features of the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era, including progressive reform, white supremacy, the expanded capacity and power of the nation-state, and the growth of U.S. global power and influence. It draws a connection to contemporary America, where, under the Trump administration, xenophobia is transforming a wide range of public policies, legitimizing racism and white supremacy, and impacting U.S. foreign relations.

Whiteness and the Emergence of the Republican Party in the Early Twentieth-Century South

Source: Boris Heersink and Jeffery A. Jenkins, Studies in American Political Development, January 6, 2020
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From the abstract:
In the post-Reconstruction South, two Republican factions vied for control of state party organizations. The Black-and-Tans sought to keep the party inclusive and integrated, while the Lily-Whites worked to turn the GOP into a whites-only party. The Lily-Whites ultimately emerged victorious, as they took over most state parties by the early twentieth century. Yet no comprehensive data exist to measure how the conflict played out in each state. To fill this void, we present original data that track the racial composition of Republican National Convention delegations from the South between 1868 and 1952. We then use these data in a set of statistical analyses to show that, once disfranchising laws were put into place, the “whitening” of the GOP in the South led to a significant increase in the Republican Party’s vote totals in the region. Overall, our results suggest that the Lily-White takeover of the Southern GOP was a necessary step in the Republican Party’s reemergence—and eventual dominance—in the region during the second half of the twentieth century.

Racial Disparities and the Income Tax System

Source: Tax Policy Center, January 30, 2020
The Internal Revenue Service does not ask for a tax filer’s race or ethnicity on tax forms, but that does not mean the tax system affects people of different races in the same way.

Overall, federal income taxes are progressive: people with higher incomes pay a larger share of their income in taxes than those with lower incomes, and this can help close racial income gaps.

But some tax policies can also exacerbate income and wealth inequalities stemming from long-standing discrimination in areas such as housing, education, and employment.

Using the individual income tax Form 1040 as a guide, we explore how the federal income tax code interacts with existing racial inequities.

The practice of preparation for complex negotiations

Source: Morten Lindholst, Anne Marie Bülow, Ray Fells, Journal of Strategic Contracting and Negotiation, OnlineFirst, Published February 21, 2020
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From the abstract:
Negotiators are routinely exhorted to prepare well, but what do they do in practice? This article draws on data collected as a team of negotiators prepared their strategy during the lengthy negotiations over a major power generation infrastructure contract. Using a framework that we developed using terms from the literature, the team’s preparation meetings were observed and then analysed for content, timing and changes in participation.

It is shown that the standard checklist notion of preparation needs to be reconsidered as a multilevel, dynamic concept that changes in character over time. Far from just a first stage, the team’s continued preparation occurred in feedback meetings after rounds of negotiation at the table, between negotiation sessions and immediately before the next round of negotiations, and progress was seen to hinge on the differentiation of the preparation. Consequently, this long-term study provides insight into a key element of any general theory of negotiation while also suggesting implications for practitioners working with negotiating teams.

Social Security Is a Great Equalizer

Source: Wenliang Hou and Geoffrey T. Sanzenbacher, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, IB#20-2, January 2020

The brief’s key findings are:

  • As the U.S. grows more diverse, it is important to understand how much Social Security affects the relative economic status of retirees by race/ethnicity.
  • This analysis uses the Health and Retirement Study to examine Social Security as a share of retirement wealth for whites, blacks, and Hispanics during 1992-2016.
  • Without Social Security, a typical white household has 5 to 7 times the wealth of a minority household, but adding in Social Security reduces the gap to 2 to 3.
  • Social Security has a similar leveling effect across the wealth distribution, but is particularly important for lower- and middle-income households.
  • Social Security reduces inequality because it covers nearly all workers and has a progressive benefit design, making it the most equal form of retirement wealth.

Measuring Racial/Ethnic Retirement Wealth Inequality

Source: Wenliang Hou and Geoffrey T. Sanzenbacher, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, WP#2020-2, January 2020

From the abstract:
As the U.S. population becomes more diverse, it will be increasingly important for policymakers addressing Social Security’s solvency to understand how reliant various racial and ethnic groups will be on the program versus other sources of retirement wealth. Yet, to date, studies on retirement wealth have tended not to focus on race and ethnicity, have largely ignored the role of Social Security, or have excluded the most recent cohort approaching retirement – the Late Boomers. This project uses data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to document the retirement resources of white, black, and Hispanic households at various points in the wealth distribution for five HRS cohorts of 51-56 year olds between 1992 and 2016.

The paper found that:

  • In 2016, the typical black household had 46 percent of the retirement wealth of the typical white household, while the typical Hispanic household had 49 percent.
  • This inequality would be much higher but for the presence of Social Security – black households had just 14 percent of the non-Social Security retirement wealth when compared to white households, and Hispanic households had just 20 percent.
  • The 1992 to 2010 HRS cohorts showed little change in retirement wealth inequality, although a decline in 51-56 year old white households’ retirement wealth between 2010 and 2016 narrowed the racial and ethnic gaps in retirement wealth slightly.
  • The progressivity of Social Security combined with lower average incomes for minority households means that replacement rates are more equal than wealth – in 2016, the replacement rate of black households was 82 percent of white households and Hispanic households was 95 percent.

The policy implications of the findings are:

  • Across-the-board benefit cuts, such as increases in the Full Retirement Age, will have an outsize impact on black and Hispanic households’ retirement wealth.
  • As policymakers consider changes to the Social Security program to shore up its finances, considering ways to mitigate any impact on these groups may be important.