Working In The New Low-Wage Economy: Understanding Participation In Low-Wage Employment In The Recessionary Era

TitleWorking In The New Low-Wage Economy: Understanding Participation In Low-Wage Employment In The Recessionary Era
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsVisser, Anne, and Meléndez, Edwin
JournalWorkingUSA
Volume18
Issue1
Pagination7 - 29
Date Published2015///
Keywordsethnicity, low-wage work, low-wage workers, race
Abstract

This paper examines the factors that influence the likelihood of engaging in low-wage work during the recessionary and post-recessionary era. Using micro data from the 5-year 2008–2012 American Community Survey Estimates, we examine human capital, structural, and labor market characteristics that induce workers' participation into low-wage jobs and labor markets, as well as how these vary between and within various ethnic/racial, age, and gender groups, including Hispanic/Latino ethnic groups. We find that the factors influencing engagement in low-wage employment largely mirror those identified in pre-recessionary studies and analyses but that there is a differential effect across ethnicity, race, gender, and age that may lead to and lock specific groups of workers into low-wage employment. Using a post-estimation technique to generate predicted probabilities, we discuss how these factors influence a worker's likelihood to engage in low-wage employment across and within ethnic and racial populations, and the implications these present for contemporary scholarship, policy, and praxis.