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FAIR MARKETS, FREE MARKETS: GOVERNING THE “NEW ECONOMY” IN LATE 20TH CENTURY AMERICA

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2025-09-05
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Abstract

This dissertation explores the regulation of the “New Economy” in the late 20th century United States, focusing on both the use of new technologies and the increased participation of women in the workforce. As the social movements of the 1960s and 1970s carved out new laws and rights, late entrants to full citizenship tested the state’s ability to regulate the labor market. Demands for free and fair markets in U.S. politics became more urgent as the economy became dominated by computing technologies and service sector jobs. New regulations required firms, regulators, and courts to negotiate contested definitions of market fairness. This dissertation argues that enforcing, not just enacting, these new regulations remade both the organization of the state and the organization of firms. Through key case studies that examine Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974, the pay equity campaigns of the 1980s, and the Family Medical Leave Act, this project demonstrates the ways citizens, administrators, and employers yoked concepts of rights, citizenship, and equality to ideas about market fairness. In so doing, they attempted to imbue the market with democratic values. At its core, this dissertation is about the mechanisms of social mobility during a key moment in America’s political and economic development. The project charts the ways new public policies incorporated new labor market entrants into the folds of capitalist expansion. The persistence of market logic in American politics was deliberately constructed and articulated within the administrative state. This dissertation demonstrates that labor markets developed not from an “invisible hand” but from concerted decisions and policy measures made by a concert of human actors.

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280 pages

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2023-08

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civil rights; economic citizenship; globalization; labor markets; regulation; technology

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Glickman, Lawrence

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Hyman, Louis
Hausmann, Julilly

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History

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Ph. D., History

Degree Level

Doctor of Philosophy

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Government Document

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dissertation or thesis

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