Panel Paper: Inclusive Development? Addressing Non-Standard Employment in Metropolitan Areas

Friday, July 20, 2018
Building 3, Room 207 (ITAM)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Elizabeth OConnor, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas

There is a lack of quality employment in many metropolitan areas, not only in the low-skilled service sector but also increasingly in higher-skilled service and professional industries. At the same time, alternative - or non-standard - work arrangements such as outsourcing, freelance and contract work is on the rise for both low wage-workers (Dube and Kaplan 2010) and those workers entering high-wage occupations (Katz and Kruger 2016). The platform economy, the gig economy and other trends are transforming urban employment and creating serious challenges for metropolitan governments seeking sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

Some metropolitan governments are actively addressing these challenges and in fact, some argue that despite a lack of formal powers in the employment policy arena, a “new localism” (Harkness, 2017; Katz, 2018) is leading metropolitan governments to create innovative policy solutions faster than at state or federal levels. Other urban governments, however, have taken little or no effective policy action. This paper will look at the policy-making process of local and metropolitan governments, examining what factors lead some to develop policies that promote and ensure quality employment within a rapidly changing labor market, while others do not. To do so, we will first use a “population-oriented” approach (Mahoney, 2008) to identify which, if any, social, political and economic traits are most likely to increase the probability of addressing the issue of quality employment, followed by an illustrative case study or narrative to show how those traits found to be most relevant play out in the policy-making process.

Full Paper: