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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IWER Research in the News

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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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

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Recent Publications by IWER Faculty

"Rapid Wage Growth at the Bottom Has Offset Rising US Inequality."

Aeppli, Clem and Nathan Wilmers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Vol. 119, No. 42 (2022): e220430511.

Faculty: Nathan Wilmers
"Through the Front Door: Why Do Organizations (Still) Prefer Legacy Applicants?"

Castilla, Emilio J. and Ethan J. Poskanzer. American Sociological Review Vol. 87, No. 5 (2022): 782–826.

"Economic Outcomes of Strikers in an Era of Weak Unions."

​Massenkoff, Maxim and Nathan Wilmers. Journal of Labor Economics. Forthcoming.

Faculty: Nathan Wilmers
"A Forum on the Politics of Skills."

​Osterman, Paul, Nichola Lowe, Bridget Anderson, Joe William Trotter, Natasha Iskander, and Rina Agarwala. ILR Review Vol. 75, No. 5 (2022): 1348-1368. Download Paper.

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

​Massenkoff, Maxim and Nathan Wilmers. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. Forthcoming. Download Preprint.

Faculty: Nathan Wilmers
"Why California’s New Fast Food Council Law is Good for Business."

Kochan, Thomas. Fortune, September 6, 2022.

Faculty: Thomas Kochan
"America’s Seeing a Historic Surge in Worker Organizing. Here’s How to Sustain It."

Kochan, Thomas, and Wilma Liebman. WBUR Cognoscenti, September 5, 2022.

Faculty: Thomas Kochan
"Blacklist or Short List: Do Employers Discriminate Against Union Supporter Job Applicants?"

Kreisberg, Nicole and Nathan Wilmers. ILR Review Vol. 75, No. 4 (2022): 943–973.

Faculty: Nathan Wilmers
"Employer Practices and Worker Outcomes: A Landscape Report."

Erin L. Kelly, Hazhir Rahmandad, Nathan Wilmers, and Aishwarya Yadama. Washington, DC: June 2022.

Faculty: Erin Kelly
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