Department of Comparative Politics
Research project

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

Illustration photo.
Jeanne Menjoulet

Main content

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

Working for very low wages has become more common in many developed countries. States have three main 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 compares to what extent developed countries use these tools and how they combine them. Further, we seek to explain the policy differences between countries and analyse the politics behind regulation of low wages. In doing so, the project develops a new understanding of how states influence wage-setting and the wage distribution.

We use quantitative methods, examining 33 developed countries, as well as qualitative methods to study a few European countries in more detail (currently United Kingdom and Norway).

The project is led by Georg Picot and funded by the FRIHUMSAM Young Research Talents scheme of the Research Council of Norway. It started in December 2018