Macroeconomic Policy and a Living Wage

The Employment Act as Redistributive Economics, 1944–1969

  • Donald R. Stabile

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Donald R. Stabile
    Pages 1-26
  3. Donald R. Stabile
    Pages 135-168
  4. Donald R. Stabile
    Pages 169-207
  5. Donald R. Stabile
    Pages 209-245
  6. Donald R. Stabile
    Pages 247-284
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 285-290

About this book



“Donald Stabile provides a fascinating history of the economic and political debates leading up to, and following, the Employment Act of 1946. Contrary to common understanding, Stabile argues that there were strong tensions between New Dealers and Keynesians, including around their vision of the purpose of minimum wages, and of unions and collective bargaining. This book is a must-read for economists, as well as policy-makers and activists, looking for new economic models which provide jobs and living wages.”

Stephanie Luce, Professor and Department Chair, School for Labor and Urban Studies, Department of Sociology, The Graduate Center, CUNY, USA

This book offers a new interpretation of the Employment Act of 1946.  It argues that in addition to Keynesian economics, the idea of a living wage was also part of the background leading up to the Employment Act.  The Act mandated that the president prepare an Economic Report on the state of the economy and how to improve it, and the idea of a living wage was an essential issue in those Economic Reports for over two decades. The author argues that macroeconomic policy in the USA consisted of a dual approach of using a living wage to increase consumption with higher wages, and fiscal policy to create jobs and higher levels of consumption, therefore forming a hybrid system of redistributive economics. An important read for scholars of economic history, this book explores Roosevelt’s role in the debates over the Employment Act in the 1940s, and underlines how Truman’s Fair Deal, Kennedy’s New Frontier and Johnson’s Great Society all had the ultimate goal of a living wage, despite their variations of its definition and name.


employment act Keynes redistributive economics political economy macroeconomics New Deal Age of Keynes labor economics Great Society New Frontier

Authors and affiliations

  • Donald R. Stabile
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsSt. Mary’s College of MarylandSt. Mary’s City, MDUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG, part of Springer Nature 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Economics and Finance Economics and Finance (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-01997-6
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-01998-3
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
Industry Sectors
Finance, Business & Banking