“The workforce, nature of work, and the economy have all changed dramatically in recent years, while the institutions and policies governing work and employment relationships remain tailored to the industrial economy of the past. The central research challenge of our generation is to identify how to best update our policies, institutions, and workplace practices to fit the needs of modern working families, employers, and a global, knowledge-driven economy.”
This statement captures the perspective faculty and students at the MIT Institute for Work and Employment Research (IWER) bring to their research, teaching, and public service. We conduct research and educational activities on the broad range of work, employment, and labor market issues and policies. Our goals are to create and advance knowledge on these topics, to education and train the next generation academic leaders in our field, and to make positive contributions to improving the public policies, organizational practices, and institutions that shape the world of work.
IWER was first established as the MIT Industrial Relations Section in 1937. In 1998 we adopted the new IWER name to better reflect the breadth of research on work and employment we carry out.
IWER is housed within the MIT Sloan School of Management and has affiliated faculty from Sloan and the Departments of Economics, Political Science, Anthropology, Urban Studies and Planning, and the Engineering Systems Division. Within Sloan IWER Faculty are part of the Work and Organizational Studies Group.
These diverse affiliations and the close working relationships with colleagues across the campus support a highly interdisciplinary and rigorous PhD program, a weekly research seminar, and a wide array of research projects.
A sampling of current research projects include:
- Study of the long term unemployed that provides coaching designed to increase chances of finding employment.
- Study of what it will take to achieve a “New Social Contract” for the next generation workforce that includes an on-line course for young workers around the world.
- Examination of the changing mix of jobs in the health care industry with a focus on ways low wage workers can upgrade their job and career opportunities.
- Comparison of new strategies for enforcing labor and environmental standards in developing economies.
- Examination of ways to improve the system of health care delivery to soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders.
- Study of the long term effects of the labor management partnership program in place at Kaiser Permanente.
- Research and active efforts to foster innovations and improve performance of Massachusetts public schools by using state-of-the art negotiations and problem solving processes.
IWER’s PhD program is recognized as a flagship in our field. Our graduates have been recruited by and taken faculty positions in a wide range of leading universities including Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Wharton, Cornell, Toronto, INSEAD, London School of Economics, London Business School, and many more. See a complete list of recent graduates and placements.