The squeezed middle
The pressure on ordinary workers in America and Britain
- Sophia Parker
- Paperback, 184 pages, 234 x 156 mm
- 16 Jan 2013
North America customers can order this book here from the University of Chicago Press.
“This timely book provides incisive analysis from leading scholars of a key issue of contemporary politics on both sides of the Atlantic. It explores why middle incomes have stagnated and discusses what might be done about it. If you read one political book this year you should read this one.” Andrew Gamble, Professor of Politics, University of Cambridge
About This Book
As wages stagnate but living costs keep rising, the pressure on working people grows more intense. The issue of living standards has become one of the most urgent challenges for politicians in both Britain and America. 'The squeezed middle' brings together experts from both sides of the Atlantic to ask what the UK can learn from the US. American workers have not benefited from growth for an entire generation - the average American worker earned no more in 2009 than in 1975. Now British workers are undergoing a similar experience. No longer can they assume that when the economy grows their wages will grow with it. This collection brings together for the first time leading economic and policy thinkers to analyse the impact of different policies on those on low-to middle incomes and to explain what lessons the UK can learn from America's 'lost generation'. This timely book is essential reading for everyone concerned about the living standards crisis, an issue which could decide elections as well as shaping the future for millions of working families.
Author BiographySophia Parker is an Associate at the Resolution Foundation, having previously been the Director of Policy and Research. This book is the product of a year-long visiting fellowship at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in 2010/11. Sophia has over a decade's experience in the field of UK social policy, in particular the issues around low income households and living standards. The Resolution Foundation is an independent think tank working to improve the lives of people living on low to middle incomes.
Foreword by Gavin Kelly and Jared Bernstein
Introduction ~ Sophia Parker
Section 1: Setting the scene: a rising tide no longer lifts all boats
A lost decade, not a burst bubble: the declining living standards of middle-class households in the US and Britain ~ Larry Mishel and Heidi Shierholz
Rising incomes and modest inequality: the high employment route ~ Lane Kenworthy
Section 2: Policy lessons: creating quality work, raising incomes and building greater economic security
Improving job quality in low-paid jobs: care workers in the US ~ Eileen Appelbaum and Carrie Leana
Employment change and economic vulnerability in the US ~ Francoise Carre and James Heintz
New evidence and new directions for promoting labour market advancement for low and modest earners ~ Jim Riccio
Boosting the pay packets of low- to middle-income families ~ Daniel P. Gitterman
Strategies to expand the affordable private rental stock ~ Keith Wardrip
Insulating middle-income households from economic insecurity: why savings matter, and how we can increase them ~ Joanna Smith-Ramani and Preeti Mehta
Section 3: Looking ahead: a cautionary tale
The path to post-recession prosperity ~ Tamara Draut
How US politics is undermining the American Dream, and what it means for the UK ~ Jacob S. Hacker
Conclusion: learning the lessons ~ Vidhya Alakeson.
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