Category Archives: Employment

New Article: “The Declining Fortunes of American Workers: Six Dimensions and an Agenda for Reform”

New Article: Stephen F. Befort, “The Declining Fortunes of American Workers: Six Dimensions and an Agenda for Reform,” Fla. L. Rev. (forthcoming).

At the turn of the century, I undertook an assessment of the then current state of workplace rights and obligations. I concluded that the balance of power between employers and workers was “badly skewed” in favor of employers. This article revisits that topic for the purpose of assessing twenty-first century trends through the lens of six workplace dimensions. They are: workforce attachment, union-management relations, employment security, income inequality, balancing work and family, and retirement security. An examination of these dimensions reveal that the status of U.S. workers has significantly declined during the first sixteen years of the twenty-first century. This article then sets out a proposed agenda for reform designed to recalibrate the current imbalance in the respective fortunes of employees and employers.

News Article: “More Wealth, More Jobs, but Not for Everyone: What Fuels the Backlash on Trade”

News Article: Peter S. Goodman, “More Wealth, More Jobs, but Not for Everyone: What Fuels the Backlash on Trade,” New York Times, Sept. 28, 2016.

Report: “Rapid Re-Housing: What the Research Says”

Report: Mary Cunningham, Rapid Re-Housing: What the Research Says, Urban Inst., June 2015.

Briefing Note: “Ending Extreme Poverty: a Focus on Children”

Briefing Note: “Ending Extreme Poverty: a Focus on Children,” UNICEF, Oct. 2016.

(Texas Size) Texas Law Review Symposium: “The Constitution and Economic Inequality”

Texas Law Review Symposium: “The Constitution and Economic Inequality”

Article: “State Obligations Concerning Socio-Economic Rights in Times of the European Financial Crisis”

Article: Jernej Letnar Černič, “State Obligations Concerning Socio-Economic Rights in Times of the European Financial Crisis,” 11 BYU Int’l L. & Mgmt. Rev. 125 (2015).

News Article: “Robert Reich: What Donald Trump’s Election Really Means”

News Article: Robert Reich, “Robert Reich: What Donald Trump’s Election Really Means,” Alternet, Nov. 10, 2016.

Article: “Race, Class, and Access to Civil Justice”

Article: Sara Sternberg Greene, “Race, Class, and Access to Civil Justice,” 101 Iowa L. Rev. 1263 (2016).

Existing research indicates that members of poor and minority groups are less likely than their higher income counterparts to seek help when they experience a civil legal problem. Indeed, roughly three-quarters of the poor do not seek legal help when they experience such problems. Inaction is even more pronounced among poor blacks. This Article uses original empirical data to provide novel explanations for these puzzling and troubling statistics. This study shows, for the first time, a connection between negative past experiences with the criminal justice system and decisions to seek help for civil justice problems. For those familiar with the law, civil and criminal law are separate categories across which experiences do not generalize, any more than a negative experience of subways would lead one to avoid driving. For most respondents, though, the criminal and civil justice systems are one and the same. Injustices they perceive in the criminal system translate into the belief that the legal system as a whole is unjust and should be avoided. Second, this Article shows that past negative experiences with a broad array of public institutions perceived as legal in nature caused respondents to feel lost and ashamed, leading them to avoid interaction with all legal institutions. Third, my data and interviews suggest that respondents helped make sense of these troubling experiences by more generally portraying themselves as self-sufficient citizens who solve their own problems. Seeking help from the legal system might run counter to this self portrayal. Finally, this Article provides a novel analysis of racial differences in how much citizens use the civil legal system and argues that disparities in trust levels help to explain these differences. This Article concludes by discussing potential policy implications of the findings and identifies key areas for further research.

News Article: “Hillary Clinton and the Populist Revolt”

News Article: George Packer, “Hillary Clinton and the Populist Revolt,” The New Yorker, Oct. 31, 2016.

Article: Nothing Left to Lose? Changes Experienced by Detroit Low- and Moderate-Income Households During the Great Recession

Article: Michael S. Barr & Daniel Schaffa, Nothing Left to Lose? Changes Experienced by Detroit Low- and Moderate-Income Households During the Great Recession, Washington Center for Equitable Growth (Sept. 2016).

The Financial Crisis and ensuing Great Recession caused enormous hardship for households. Using original datasets, we examine the effects of the recession on a population many might think had nothing left to lose: low- and moderate-income households in the Detroit metropolitan area. We find that the Great Recession in fact imposed significant costs on these households, reducing employment and assets and increasing hardships in a wide variety of ways. Our findings suggest the need for more robust safety net policies and financial services that can help cushion the blows from sharp reductions in incomes and assets.