The Richard A. Lester Book Award

Announcing the 2019 and 2020 Richard A. Lester Book Award Recipients

Carl Frey

Carl Frey, author of The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor, and Power In the Age of Automation

David Pedulla

David Pedulla, author of Making the Cut: Hiring Decisions, Bias, and the Consequences of Nonstandard, Mismatched, and Precarious Employment.


2019

Book cover of The Technology Trap by Carl Benedikt Frey

The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor, and Power In the Age of Automation by Carl Benedikt Frey

Carl Benedikt Frey is the Director of Future of Work at Oxford University. In “The Technology Trap,” Frey compares the economic and political history of technological progress during the industrial revolution to the current age of automation and artificial intelligence. He starts with a brief history of technological advancement from agrarian society to the industrial revolution and its limited effect on economic progress. He then focuses on the labor-replacing aspects of the industrial revolution’s major technological advancements in first Britain, then America, and the varying effects this imposed on the middle class. After comparing this dynamic to the current age of automation, Frey provides a look at potential future outcomes and possible solutions. Frey often draws from both historical references and the work of current economists, such as Daren Acemoglu.

Frey, Carl Benedikt. The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor, and Power In the Age of Automation.Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2019.

—Annotation by Willow Dressel, Engineering Librarian

2020

Cover of Making the Cut by David Pedulla

Making the Cut: Hiring Decisions, Bias, and the Consequences of Nonstandard, Mismatched, and Precarious Employment by David Pedulla

Pedulla asks if employers systematically screen out job applicants with non-standard, precarious employment histories in favor of those who have remained in full-time standard jobs. Scholars have examined the effects of non-standard, mismatched, and precarious employment on worker wages, benefits, autonomy, subjective well-being, job security and health. However, Pedulla's research uniquely explores the consequences of this type of employment on a worker’s ability to obtain a new job. Through interviews with hiring professionals to obtain key insights into the process of recruitment and selection, Pedulla explores how workers get jobs, how the hiring process works, and who comes out ahead. By examining employers' evaluations of potential employees, Pedulla determines the ways in which hiring professionals have kept up with the changing pace of work in the new economy. The research was funded in part by the National Science Foundation and US Department of Health and Human Services as well as multiple academic research centers including the Employment Instability, Family, Well-Being and Social Policy Network and the University of Chicago.

Pedulla, David. Making the Cut: Hiring Decisions, Bias, and the Consequences of Nonstandard, Mismatched, and Precarious Employment. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2020.

—Annotation by Charissa O. Jefferson, Labor Economics Librarian


About Richard A. Lester and the Annual Book Award

The Industrial Relations Section has both an annual book award (see below) and a fellowship named in honor of Richard A. Lester.

Richard A. Lester's ties with Princeton and the Industrial Relations Section began in 1929, when he enrolled as a graduate student in economics. Lester served as an instructor at Princeton (1934-38), and returned as Associate Professor and Research Associate of the Industrial Relations Section in 1945. He served as Chairman of the Economics Department from 1948 to 1955 and from 1961 to 1968, and as Dean of the Faculty from 1968 to 1973. Lester was one of the founders of the Industrial Relations Research Association and was elected its president in 1956. He served in Washington in various capacities between 1940 and 1944, and was vice-chairman of the President's Commission on the Status of Women from 1961 to 1963.

In recognition of Richard Lester's contribution to the fields of Labor Economics and Industrial Relations and his many years of service to the Industrial Relations Section, the Section has established in his name an annual award for the outstanding book in Industrial Relations and Labor Economics. The award is presented to the book making the most original and important contribution toward understanding the problems of industrial relations, and the evolution of labor markets.

Nominations from authors or publishers are not solicited nor accepted; this is an independent selection process.