News & Commentary

August 22, 2017

In an article published in The Atlantic, Victor Tan Chen discusses the impact of the economy on marriage rates in the U.S.  Chen ties the decline in the proportion of people getting married to the “disappearance of good jobs for people with less education.”  Chen emphasizes that the decline is driven primarily by those without college education (just over 50% of women above 40 with a high school education or less are married, relative to 75% of women that age who hold college degrees).  Chen furthers his point by discussing research by various economists, sociologists, and other social scientists.  For example, research by economists David Autor, David Dorn, and Gordon Hanson revealed the sentiments of low-income workers that being unable to provide financially renders them “unmarriageable.”  The article imparts the message that, “[e]ven when it comes to private matters of love and lifestyle, the broader social structure—the state of the economy, the availability of good jobs, and so on—matters a great deal.”

Writing for the New York Times, Michael Schuman profiles the economic woes of Shenyang, China—a city that is struggling to maintain and revive industrial/manufacturing jobs reminiscent of the decline of important industries in midwestern cities in the U.S.  Schuman discusses the “lavish” incentives programs enacted by Chinese officials to stimulate the economy, but describes reason to expect the effectiveness of these programs to be qualified at best.

Last week, California Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson unveiled plans to introduce legislation to “clarify legal protections for entrepreneurs facing sexual harassment.”  Senator Jackson’s proposal would explicitly prohibit sexual harassment in entrepreneur-potential investor relationships.  The proposal arises in response to growing awareness about the unfortunate phenomenon of sexual harassment and discrimination in the tech/startup/venture capital industry, which we have previously covered here, and touched on here and here.

Last Friday (August 18), the NLRB ruled that jumbotron workers for the Minnesota Timberwolves are employees entitled to vote on whether or not to join a union.  The Board, in its 2-1 decision (which overruled a 2016 decision), reasoned that because management gave the 30 workers a script to follow, told them when to work, and provided most of the tools and equipment the workers used, the workers were employees rather than independent contractors.  The Board also noted that most of the 30 workers had worked for the Timberwolves for at least five years, and formed a key part of the team’s operations.

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