This book challenges some of the fundamental tenets of "free market" economics that have had a profound impact on public policy and the plight of the American worker. These include the beliefs that high wages inevitably mean low profits; that a "free" market will automatically reduce discrimination and pay inequality; that anti-trust legislation hinders competitive market forces; and that minimum wage laws and trade unions negatively impact the economy.
Using both theoretical analysis and real-life examples, the author shows that these myths are a product of unrealistic behavioral assumptions on the part of "free market" economists about the typical worker. In fact, as the author makes clear, the level of workers' satisfaction with their jobs, as a reflection of how well they are paid and treated by their employers, has a direct impact on the quality level of the products they produce and, inevitably, the economic performance of the firms.
Table of Contents
Foreword /Shlomo Maital -- Acknowledgments -- 1. Introduction: Revising the Microfoundations of Economics -- 2. Human Agency as a Determinant of Material Welfare -- 3. The Methodology of Economics and the Survival Principle Revised -- 4. A Behavioral Theory of Economic Welfare and Economic Justice -- 5. The Economics of Exogenous Increases in Wage Rates in a Behavioral /X-Efficiency Model of the Firm -- 6. A Behavioral Model of Endogenous Economic Growth -- 7. lnterfirm, Interregional, and International Differences in Labor Productivity: Why Convergence Need Not Take Place -- 8. The Economics of Profitable Inefficiency and Market Failure: A Behavioral Model of Path Dependency -- 9. Economic Theory, Public Policy, and the Challenge of Innovative Work Practices -- 10. The Efficiency- and Welfare-Promoting Role of Labor Rights and Labor Power in a Market Economy -- 11. A Revisionist View of the Economic Implications of Child Labor Regulations -- 12. How Discriminatory Pay Inequality Can Persist: Even in Competitive Markets -- 13. When Green Isn't Mean: The Economics of Environmental Regulations -- 14. Big Is Not Always Better: A Critical Appraisal of the Transaction Cost-Economizing Paradigm -- 15. Culture as a Determinant of Material Welfare -- References -- Index -- About the Author.
Morris Altman has published over fifty refereed papers in behavioral economics, economic history, and empirical macroeconomics and is the author of Human Agency and Material Welfare: Revisions in Microeconomics and Their Implications for Public Policy (1996). He is currently Professor and Head of the Department of Economics at the University of Saskatchewan. He has been a Halbert Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a Visiting Scholar at Stanford, Comell, and Duke universities. Apart from his recent appointment as the new editor of the Journal of Socio-Economics, Altman also served as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Economic Psychology. He is also on the executive boards of the Society for Advancement of Behavioral Economics (SABE), the International Association for Research in Economic Psychology (IAREP), and the Association for Social Economics (ASE).