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.

Emilio J. Castilla | MIT Sloan NTU Professor of Management
"Only when employees, managers, and executives all share a common understanding of what ‘merit’ actually is (and how to measure it) can we hope that the same standards will be applied consistently to all employees, regardless of demographic factors. This can help make the evaluation process more meritocratic, and the workplace more fair and diverse."
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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

"Becoming an Ombuds at MIT."

Rowe, Mary. Conflict Resolution Quarterly. Forthcoming.

Faculty: Mary Rowe
"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. Forthcoming.

Faculty: Mary Rowe
"Working from Home and Worker Well-being: New Evidence from Germany."

Yang, Duan, Erin L. Kelly, Laura D. Kubzansky, and Lisa Berkman. ILR Review Vol. 76, No. 3 (2023): 504–531.

Faculty: Erin Kelly
"How to Tackle the UK’s Regional Economic Inequality: Focus on STEM, Transport, and Innovation."

Stansbury, Anna, Dan Turner, and Ed Balls. VoxEU, March 6, 2023.

Faculty: Anna Stansbury
"The Gendering of Job Postings in the Online Recruitment Process."

Castilla, Emilio J., and Hye Jin Rho. Management Science. Forthcoming. Download Replication Files.

"Why Neglecting Work Relationships Can Sabotage Innovation and Productivity, According to Research."

Kellogg, Katherine C., Erin L. Kelly, and Constance N. Hadley. Fast Company, March 5, 2023.

Faculty: Erin Kelly
"Contract Employment: Measurement and Implications for Employer–Employee Relationships."

Osterman, Paul. ILR Review Vol. 76, No. 2 (2023): 320-356.

Faculty: Paul Osterman
"Wage Stagnation and the Decline of Standardized Pay Rates, 1974-1991."

​Massenkoff, Maxim and Nathan Wilmers. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics Vol. 15, No. 1 (2023): 474-507. Download Preprint.

Faculty: Nathan Wilmers
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