Employment & Compensation


The labor market matches individuals with skills and knowledge to job vacancies requiring particular skills and abilities. The result is employment in which effort is exchanged for compensation. Upjohn Institute researchers have studied many aspects of this basic transaction between employer and employees.

Health Insurance

Since World War II in the U.S., health insurance has been an important component of many workers’ compensation. Factors such as the escalating cost of health care and the pressures of international competition are causing the employment-based health insurance system to be overburdened. Research done by or sponsored by the Upjohn Institute will help to inform the debate around a restructured system.

Job Security

Accelerating technological advancements and global competition have caused Job Security to be a concern for most workers. Research done at the Upjohn Institute has found that training can have a substantial payoff for dislocated workers. Another dimension of the issue is job stability, which has been examined for low-wage workers in recent books from the Upjohn Institute Press.

Nonstandard Work Arrangements

A fairly recent trend, especially in the manufacturing sector of the economy, has been the usage of nonstandard work arrangements, such as workers from temporary help agencies. Several studies conducted by Susan Houseman and others at the Upjohn Institute document the pervasiveness of these arrangements and their potential advantages and disadvantages.

Retirement & Pensions

Retirement & pensions is another substantial component of overall compensation, and is becoming a more and more important topic in labor market considerations because of the aging of the workforce. Upjohn Institute research contributes substantially to each of the following aspects of the issue:

  • Employer strategies
  • Pensions
  • Retiree health benefits
  • Retirement decisions

Unions & Collective Bargaining

Research that has been published over the years through the Upjohn Institute Press has examined the extent to which unions & collective bargaining affect employment and affect compensation.

Wages & Benefits

From many perspectives, the most important outcome of the employment contract is wages & benefits. Wage levels and distributional equality affect labor supply and demand behavior. For example, minimum wages or living wages may distort low wage labor markets as may excessive executive compensation. Issues around nonwage benefits include their substitutability for wages in total compensation and their tax treatment.