Rigorous and Relevant Employment Research

The research conducted by IWER scholars is motivated by important real-world questions and challenges that will help shape work’s future. Our faculty members' research projects address a wide range of timely topics, from identifying sources of income inequality to reducing bias in organizational processes.

Nathan Wilmers | Sarofim Family Career Development Associate Professor at MIT Sloan
“If you organize work so that people are doing the same simple, repetitive thing day after day, they are less likely to be learning and developing human capital than if you have a job rotation where people move across multiple tasks within a workplace.”
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New Research by IWER Faculty

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Current IWER Faculty Projects

  • Worker Well-Being

    Professor Erin L. Kelly studies ways to redesign work to benefit both employees and firms. She is leading a study in warehouses that seeks to improve job quality as well as workers’ health and well-being. Her work also investigates how work-family challenges can be managed.


  • Reducing Bias in Organizations

    Professor Emilio J. Castilla researches companies’ people management processes, with a particular focus on reducing bias. His current projects include applying people analytics to reduce bias in hiring and other people-related processes key for organizational success.


  • Income Inequality and Economic Mobility

    Professor Nathan Wilmers studies income inequality, including an ongoing study of how changing work tasks for low-wage workers can boost their pay.

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  • Worker Voice and Power

    Professor Anna Stansbury is a labor and macro economist, with a particular focus on issues to do with market power and labor market institutions.  Her work includes quantifying the macroeconomic effects of the decline in U.S. worker power and investigating firms’ incentives to comply with labor and employment law.

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    Professor Thomas A. Kochan focuses on worker voice and engaging frontline workers in shaping work’s future. With colleagues, he is launching a multi-university project that examines worker efforts to gain greater voice at work.

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  • Skills Training

    Professor Paul Osterman recently completed new research on how U.S. workers gain their skills, and is now conducting a follow-up study on workers’ training and skills development during COVID-19.

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  • Conflict Management

    Professor Mary P. Rowe’s work explores topics related to negotiation and conflict management, including the organizational ombuds profession, harassment and bullying, micro-inequities and micro-affirmations, and the role of bystanders in organizations.

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Inequality and Worker Activism

Recent Publications by IWER Faculty

"How Do Employer Practices Affect Economic Mobility?"

Kelly, Erin L., Hazhir Rahmandad, Nathan Wilmers, and Aishwara Yadama. ILR Review Vol. 76, No. 5 (2023): 792-832.

"An Overview of US Workers’ Current Organizing Efforts and Collective Actions."

Kochan, Thomas, Janice R. Fine, Kate Bronfenbrenner, Suresh Naidu, Jacob Barnes, Yaminette Diaz-Linhart, John Kallas, Jeonghun Kim, Arrow Minster, Di Tong, Phela Townsend, and Danielle Twiss. Work and Occupations Vol. 50, No. 3 (2023): 335-350.

"Consider Generic Options When Complainants and Bystanders Are Fearful."

Rowe, Mary. Journal of the International Ombudsman Association Vol. 16, No. 3 (2023): 1-7.

Faculty: Mary Rowe
"Helping Hesitant Bystanders Identify Their Options: A Checklist with Examples and Ideas to Consider."

Rowe, Mary. Journal of the International Ombudsman Association Vol. 16, No. 3 (2023): 1-12. Download Preprint.

Faculty: Mary Rowe
"Rank Has Its Privileges: Explaining Why Laboratory Safety Is a Persistent Challenge."

Basbug, Gokce, Ayn Cavicchi, and Susan S. Silbey. Journal of Business Ethics Vol. 184, No. 3 (2023): 571-587.

Faculty: Susan Silbey
"The Labor-Savvy Leader."

Bahat, Roy E., Thomas Kochan, and Liba Wenig Rubenstein. Harvard Business Review, July 2023.

Faculty: Thomas Kochan
"Gender Gaps in South Korea’s Labour Market: Children Explain Most of the Gender Employment Gap, But Little of the Gender Wage Gap."

Stansbury, Anna, Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, and Karen Dynan. Applied Economics Letters (2023).

Faculty: Anna Stansbury
"Becoming an Ombuds at MIT."

Rowe, Mary. Conflict Resolution Quarterly Vol. 40, No. 4 (2023): 497-504.

Faculty: Mary Rowe
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IWER Working Papers

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