What is Work Worth?

Joyce Jacobsen, Andrews Professor of Economics, was a guest on WNPR’s “Where We Live.” In the wake of widespread demonstrations by fast food employees demanding livable wages, as well as earlier “Occupy” protests pitting the “99 percent” against the “1 percent,” Jacobsen and the other guests explore how wages correlate, if at all, to the value workers bring to society.

“One of the first things we try to teach kids in Intro Econ is that what comes out of markets–in this case the wage–isn’t always related to people’s views of value,” said Jacobsen. “In fact, value is not what you necessarily get with pay. That’s very frustrating to many people, but there are reasons in the market why that doesn’t happen.”

Jacobsen is also dean of the social sciences and interdisciplinary programs, and a tutor in the College of Social Sciences.