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MIT Industrial Performance Center

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Prof. Michael J. Piore (IPC), Senior Research Associate

Michael J. Piore is currently the David W. Skinner Professor of Political Economy at MIT. He earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Harvard University, where he wrote his doctoral dissertation under the direction of John T. Dunlop. He has been on
the faculty of the Department of Economics at MIT since 1966, and also currently holds a joint appointment with the Department of Political Science. He is director of the MIT-Mexico Program and an affiliate of both the Center for International Studies and the Industrial Performance Center.

Piore is a member of the Executive Board of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-economics. He was a MacArthur Prize Fellow (1984-1989), a member of the Executive Committee of the American Economic Association (1990-1995), and a member of the Governing Board of the Institute for Labour Studies of the International Labour
Organization (1990-1996). In addition to the ILO, Piore has worked with many other international organizations, foreign governments, U.S. government agencies, state governments, and nonprofit organizations including the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the AFL-CIO, and the Social Science Research Council. He holds a Docteur HONORIS CAUSA from Université des Science et Technologies de Lille.

Piore is best known for the development of the concept of the internal labor market and the dual labor market hypothesis and, more recently, for work on the transition from mass production to flexible specialization. He has worked on a number of labor market and industrial relations problems, including low income labor markets, the impact of technological change upon work, migration, labor market segmentation and the relationship between the labor market, business strategy and industrial organization. His most recent book, Innovation, The Missing Dimension (with Richard Lester [Harvard
University Press, 2004]), argues for the role of interpretation alongside rational decision making in the innovative process, and the importance of public space, sheltered from the pressures of the competitive market, in the interpretative process. He is currently working on new forms of labor market regulation in the United States as a response to a shift in the axes of social and political mobilization from economic class to social identities associated with race, sex, ethnicity, age, and disability. He is also working on the contrast between labor market regulation in the United States and forms of regulation in Mexico and Latin America. The central themes in Piore's work are the social, institutional and cognitive dimensions of economic activity.


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