Daniel Schneider Photo

Daniel Schneider

Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy, HKS; Professor of Sociology, FAS


Work is at the core of daily life for most American adults. But the experience of work, of having a good job or a bad job, is starkly unequal, has become more precarious and more polarized over the past several decades, and is rapidly changing.  We begin with a broad overview of shifts in American society and the economy that are both backdrop and cause of these changes in work - the transformation of the American labor market by the forces of financialization and de-unionization, changes in American families in terms of family structure, women’s labor force participation, and care giving obligations, retrenchment in the welfare state, and rapid technological change.  We then define a set of contemporary problems at work, including insufficient and unequal wages, unstable and unpredictable work schedules, a lack of paid sick and paid family and medical leave, as well as emergent challenges related to surveillance, automation, and AI.  For each, we explore the scope of the problem, the stakes in terms of profit and power, and policy solutions.