Saturday, June 23, 2018

Saturday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your weekend reading.

- Jay Shambaugh, Ryan Nunn, and Lauren Bauer discuss the need for U.S. law and policy to adapt to protect independent workers who have been excluded from normal employment rights:
Armed with up-to-date, accurate data, policymakers and regulators can work to keep regulations relevant and appropriate to the modern labor market. One particularly pressing policy issue is the classification of contingent workers: should participants in the “gig economy,” and alternative work arrangements more broadly be treated as employees or independent contractors? As these new data demonstrate, a sizable share of workers in the United States remain outside the traditional employment structure and consequently lack many of the protections and benefits that come with being a traditional employee. Economists Jackson, Looney, and Ramnath document many of these disadvantages, also finding that the Affordable Care Act played an important role in providing health insurance for many workers in alternative arrangements.
In their proposals, Harris and Krueger propose that independent workers have the right to collectively bargain as well as protection from various forms of employment discrimination. However, independent workers would not qualify for hours-based benefits like overtime or the minimum wage. Harris and Krueger argue this new classification would benefit both workers and businesses, reducing expensive litigation by clarifying the rights and obligations of each party.
(A)lternative work arrangements or gig-employment may conceal insufficient labor demand. These workers may be perfectly willing to take a full-time job and are only in these arrangements because they cannot find traditional employment. Only 44 percent of on-call workers and 39 percent of temporary help workers preferred their work arrangements to traditional employment. In this case, these workers may act in a similar manner to unemployed workers or those out of the labor force who would like a job. A large number of such workers might keep downward pressure on wages despite low levels of unemployment, suggesting policymakers need to consider this reserve of semi-employed when assessing the extent of slack in the labor market.
- Kenyon Wallace and Mary Ormsby report on the recommendations of a coroner's jury following the death of a homeless man in Toronto - with the need for housing and income supports figuring prominently. And Melanie Green discusses the widespread food insecurity facing Indigenous children in Canada.

- Rhys Kesselman answers critics of British Columbia's modest steps to bring its property tax system in line with other jurisdictions by noting that property-based wealth provides a fair and efficient source of revenue.

- Equiterre highlights the increasing number of pipeline safety incidents in Canada. And Norm Farrell points out the connection between poorly-documented methane emissions and a systematic failure to make sure that polluters pay for the damage they do to our planet.

- Finally, David Climenhaga exposes the shadowy financing network - featuring both well-known U.S. wealth and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation - which is behind a right-wing attack on gay-straight alliances and LGBTQ rights in Alberta.

No comments:

Post a Comment