Article

Labor Markets

Matt L. Huffman

in Sociology

ISBN: 9780199756384
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0071
Labor Markets

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The sociology of labor markets is a large and diverse field reflecting the varied connotations of the concept of a “labor market” itself. An abstract but useful definition is provided in “The Sociology of Labor Markets” (Kalleberg and Sørensen 1979, cited under General Overviews), which defines labor markets as arenas where exchanges are made between workers and employers. In labor markets, workers are said to offer their labor power to employers in exchange for various rewards associated with employment, including wages, power, and status. Labor markets are a fundamental institution because of their central role in distributing rewards that are tied to one’s social and economic status in society. As such, how labor markets operate is of keen interest to scholars interested in inequality and other areas of sociological inquiry. In contrast to economists, sociologists tend to view labor markets as fundamentally social institutions. This means that economic considerations do not tell the whole story, and in the sociological view, customs, rules, and relationships profoundly affect exchanges in the labor market. A large segment of sociological work on labor markets seeks to show how factors that are traditionally considered noneconomic affect the operation of labor markets and shape economic outcomes more generally.

Article.  8589 words. 

Subjects: Sociology ; Comparative and Historical Sociology ; Economic Sociology ; Gender and Sexuality ; Health, Illness, and Medicine ; Population and Demography ; Race and Ethnicity ; Social Movements and Social Change ; Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility ; Social Theory

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