Eileen Appelbaum

Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research
Areas of Expertise:

Connect with Eileen

About Eileen

Appelbaum is an economist who has published widely on a variety of topics involving labor and employment. A major focus of her research is on implications of company practices for organizational effectiveness and employee outcomes. She has studied the adoption of workplace practices that increased worker participation in shop floor decisions as well as employers’ efforts to limit opportunity in the workplace and expand low wage jobs. She is currently engaged (with Ruth Milkman) in studying the effects of paid family leave in California on firms and workers. A second strand of current research (with Rosemary Batt) examines the effects of private equity ownership on managerial decision making, firm competitiveness and employment relations. She has engaged in policy debates on these topics, testified before the New Jersey state legislature and the U.S. Congress, and has been interviewed in major media outlets. Some of her areas of expertise include private equity, financialization, workers and communities, healthcare restructuring and its implications for workers, and economic security.

In the News

Quoted by David Dayen in "Wall Street's Newest Way to Part Investors From Their Money ," The American Prospect, August 6, 2020.
Quoted by Bryce Covert in "Passed the First Law in the Nation to Guarantee Severance Pay After Mass Layoffs," The Nation, January 15, 2020.
Opinion: "Legislation Even a Divided Congress Can Pass," Eileen Appelbaum, The Hill, February 1, 2019.
Research discussed by Dee DePass, in "Staff-Starved Factories in Minnesota, U.S. Finally Offer Higher Wages, Perks," Star Tribune, October 8, 2018.
Quoted by Jane Waldfogel in "Paid Family and Medical Leave Legislation: Evidence from Employers," American Enterprise Institute, April 9, 2018.
Quoted by Hamilton Nolan in "The Working Person's Guide to the Industry That Might Kill Your Company," Splinter, April 2, 2018.
Quoted by David Dayen in "Private Equity: Looting "R" Us," The American Prospect, March 20, 2018.
Opinion: "Senate Democrats Offer Welcome Alternative Infrastructure Plan – Statement," Eileen Appelbaum, Eurasia Review, March 8, 2018.
Quoted by Marielle Segarra in "Toys R Us and Why the Retail Downturn is All about Debt," Marketplace, March 6, 2018.
Opinion: "The U.S. Needs National Paid Leave, Not a Public Relations Stunt," Eileen Appelbaum, Salon, March 2, 2018.
Quoted by Jason Ludwigson La Crescent in "Jason Ludwigson: It's Time to Update the Family and Medical Leave Act," Winona Daily News, February 23, 2018.
Quoted by Audrey McGlinchy in "Austin City Council Considers Prescribing Paid Sick Leave For Private Employers," KUT 90.5, February 13, 2018.
Opinion: "Wall Street Landlords aren't Looking out for Main Street Tenants," Eileen Appelbaum, The Hill, February 1, 2018.
Opinion: "It’s Dodd-Frank’s Seventh Birthday – Will It be around to Celebrate Its Eighth?," Eileen Appelbaum, Huffington Post, July 21, 2017.
Opinion: "'Comp Time' Bill is Back, but Still Hurts Workers," Eileen Appelbaum, The Hill, April 5, 2017.
Quoted by Gretchen Morgensen in "Private Equity Funds Balk at Disclosure, and Public Risk Grows," New York Times, July 1, 2016.
Quoted by Don Lee in "Behind Shrinking Middle-Class Jobs: A Surge in Outsourcing," Los Angeles Times, June 30, 2016.
Opinion: "Private Equity Funds are a Bad Deal for Retired State Workers," Eileen Appelbaum (with Rosemary Batt), The Sacramento Bee, December 14, 2015.
Quoted by Emily Peck in "Another Sign That Momentum is Building on Paid Parental Leave in the U.S.," Huffington Post, August 10, 2015.
Opinion: "Dodd-Frank at Five: Private Equity and the SEC," Eileen Appelbaum, Huffington Post, July 21, 2015.
Opinion: "IRS Should Crack down on Private Equity's Abusive Tax Alchemy," Eileen Appelbaum, Huffington Post, April 15, 2015.
Opinion: "FAMILY Act, Not Vodafone, Points Way Forward on Paid Family and Medical Leave," Eileen Appelbaum, The Hill, March 17, 2015.
Opinion: "For Paid Sick Days Legislation, This Time May be Different," Eileen Appelbaum, The Hill, February 12, 2015.
Quoted by Gretchen Morgenson in "Entering the Secret Garden of Private Equity," New York Times, December 27, 2014.
Quoted by Nadja Popovich in "The U.S. is Still the Only Developed Country That Doesn’t Guarantee Paid Maternity Leave," The Guardian, December 3, 2014.
Opinion: "Paid Sick Days Benefit Worker and Employer," Eileen Appelbaum (with Ruth Milkman), Philadelphia Inquirer, October 17, 2014.
Opinion: "Who's the Boss?," Eileen Appelbaum, Huffington Post, September 8, 2014.
Opinion: "Is Burger King's Move to Canada a Raw Deal for U.S. Taxpayers?," Eileen Appelbaum, Fortune, August 28, 2014.
Opinion: "Working Families Flexibility Act Undermines 40-Hour Workweek," Eileen Appelbaum, The Hill, April 8, 2013.
Opinion: "Business Attitudes toward Paid Sick Leave are Changing," Eileen Appelbaum, U.S. News & World Report, March 6, 2013.
Opinion: "Low-Wage Jobs to Blame for Slow Economic Recovery," Eileen Appelbaum, U.S. News & World Report, April 10, 2012.
Opinion: "The Mortgage-to-Lease Alternative to Foreclosure," Eileen Appelbaum,, March 26, 2012.
Opinion: "The President Strikes a Blow for Tax Fairness," Eileen Appelbaum, U.S. News & World Report, February 24, 2012.


"A Primer on Private Equity at Work" Challenge 55, no. 5 (2012): 5-38.

Examines a widely-cited body of research to illuminate some of the major controversies surrounding private equity including whether private equity creates or destroys jobs, whether it provides better returns than the broad stock market to investors, and whether the debt burden assumed by firms acquired by private equity substantially increases the risk of bankruptcy.

"Macroeconomic Policy, Labour Market Institutions and Employment Outcomes" Work, Employment and Society 25, no. 4 (2011): 596-610.
Argues that in the wake of the Great Recession, stimulative macroeconomic policies, while critical, may not alone suffice to absorb all the unemployed in a timely manner. Weak labor market institutions in the U.S. tend to dampen the immediate impact of such policies on employment. Policies that discourage lay¬offs and encourage short-time work programs in the public and pri¬vate sectors can play an important role in improving labor market outcomes.
"Leaves That Pay: Employer and Worker Experiences with Paid Family Leave in California," (with Ruth Milkman and Ruth Milkman), Center for Economic and Policy Research, December 31, 2010.

Reports on surveys of employers and workers in California about their experiences with the state’s paid family leave program, which began in 2004. Finds that the feared negative impact on employers did not materialize and that workers who used the program benefit from it.

"Work Process and Quality of Care in Early Childhood Education: The Role of Job Crafting" (with Carrie Leana and Iryna Shevchuk). Academy of Management Journal 52, no. 6 (2009): 1169-1192.
Conducted performance assessments in 62 childcare centers and surveyed 232 teachers and aides to examine the extent to which these workers used the discretion inherent in this work to craft their jobs, and how this affected the quality of their classrooms. Found that in classrooms in which the lead teacher and aides jointly developed their work roles, classroom quality was better and workers were more satisfied, committed, and attached to their jobs.
"Low Wage America: How Employers are Reshaping Opportunity in the Workplace " (with Annette Bernhardt and Richard Murnane) (Russell Sage Foundation, 2003).
Examines how changes in the workplace have played out in the lower reaches of the job market, for example among low-wage workers in hospitals.
"Manufacturing Advantage: Why High Performance Work Systems Pay Off " (with Tom Bailey, Peter Berg, and Arne Kalleberg) (Cornell University Press, 2000).
Analyzes the experiences of workers and firms with high performance work systems that permit front-line workers to participate in decisions that affect operational outcomes. Examines the effects of these practices on plant performance and outcomes of interest to workers.