The evolution of certain aspects of the American social contract has lagged behind that of other developed countries for decades, but the insecurity resulting from our lack of social protections has traditionally been offset by high employment levels, a stable middle class and widespread perceived opportunity for upward mobility. The value of this trade-off has been undermined, though, by unequal wage growth and polarization of the labor market into low and high skill jobs, with a decline of middle income jobs and the retirement and health benefits that accompanied them.
One bottleneck to the advancement of American thinking and advocacy in this area is the lack of a common foundation from which researchers and policymakers can quantify the social contract. To address this gap, the New America Foundation’s Next Social Contract Initiative has adapted the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Decent Work Agenda to the U.S. context. Using the ILO’s work as a starting point, we establish a set of indicators that allows us to analyze, benchmark, and track the state of the American social contract, with the hope that this analysis can set the foundations for evaluating the role that our social contract should play in creating decent work for Americans.
To read the full paper, click here.
Download the Social Contract Indicators individually:
Event: Rethinking the American Social Contract
An event on July 11th at the New America Foundation launched the paper, where experts Duncan Campbell of the International Labor Organization and Tom Kochan of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology provided their views on how we can strengthen our social contract and create decent work in the U.S.
Watch the video of the event here.