Department of Comparative Politics

Research project

Bringing in the state: The politics of wage regulation and low-wage employment

This project analyses the policies that states use to deal with low-wage employment. In particular, it seeks to explain why states differ in the tools they use to address low-wage employment.

Working for very low wages has become more common in many developed countries. States have various tools to address this situation. They can introduce minimum wages by law, they can pay public benefits to top up low wages, or they can try to strengthen the collective bargaining between trade unions and employers. This project will compare to what extent developed countries use these tools. It will then seek to explain why, for example, some countries, such as France, have a very high legal minimum wage whereas others, such as the United Kingdom, pay relatively large public benefits to low-wage workers. At the same time, the project develops a new, general understanding of how states influence wage setting and the wage distribution.

The project will use quantitative methods, examining as many developed countries as possible, as well as qualitative methods to study four European countries in more detail. The four countries to be studied more closely have not been selected yet. This depends on the results of the quantitative analysis.

This project is led by Georg Picot and funded by the FRIHUMSAM Young Research Talents scheme of the Norwegian Council of Research. It starts in October 2018.