Chapter

Convergence Theory

HAROLD L. WILENSKY

in Rich Democracies

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2002 | ISBN: 9780520231764
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928336 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520231764.003.0001
Convergence Theory

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This chapter discusses evidence for convergence theory, the idea that as rich countries got richer, they developed similar economic, political, and social structures and to some extent common values and beliefs. The analysis reveals that high levels of economic development and related changes in the occupational and industrial composition of the labor force result in two areas of convergence: the gradual spread of nonstandard schedules of work and the substantial and rapid growth of contingent labor in both manufacturing and service. Total annual hours of work declined from the late nineteenth century until about 1960, a trend that has continued in all rich democracies ever since.

Keywords: convergence theory; rich countries; common values; beliefs; occupational composition; industrial composition; work schedules; contingent labor

Chapter.  44632 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative and Historical Sociology

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