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US Labor's Plight in the Global Economy
Debaere, Peter Case GEM-0155 / Published February 20, 2018 / 17 pages.
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Product Overview

US employment in manufacturing has been steadily declining since the 1980s. In the wake of the surprise election in November 2016 of Donald J. Trump, who received strong blue-collar support in rust-belt states, there was growing urgency to understand the plight of manufacturing. The first half of this case explores recent research on labor-market polarization, the return to education, and the local impacts of globalization, in particular the increased trade between China and the United States. The second half summarizes Amy Goldstein's Janesville: An American Story, a narrative about the social impact of the closure of the Janesville, Wisconsin, GM assembly plant. The central question becomes whether the case for trade liberalization is eroding, and whether the wave of ever more globalization is coming to an end. This case is used at Darden in the second-year elective, "Managing International Trade and Investment." It would also be suitable in courses covering globalization, labor markets, or international trade.

  • Overview

    US employment in manufacturing has been steadily declining since the 1980s. In the wake of the surprise election in November 2016 of Donald J. Trump, who received strong blue-collar support in rust-belt states, there was growing urgency to understand the plight of manufacturing. The first half of this case explores recent research on labor-market polarization, the return to education, and the local impacts of globalization, in particular the increased trade between China and the United States. The second half summarizes Amy Goldstein's Janesville: An American Story, a narrative about the social impact of the closure of the Janesville, Wisconsin, GM assembly plant. The central question becomes whether the case for trade liberalization is eroding, and whether the wave of ever more globalization is coming to an end. This case is used at Darden in the second-year elective, "Managing International Trade and Investment." It would also be suitable in courses covering globalization, labor markets, or international trade.

  • Learning Objectives