A worker mops the floor of a subway car in New York City, May 2020 
Andrew Kelly / Reuters

In recent years, academics and policymakers in the United States have struggled with an economic mystery. Why, even as the U.S. economy has grown in the past few decades, have wages remained relatively stagnant? Many scholars have landed on one reason in particular: the decline in the bargaining power of U.S. workers due to shrinking union membership and the rise of subcontracting. Workers have benefited less from economic growth as their ability to bargain for higher wages has withered. Instead, major gains have gone to investors and managers, and inequality in the United States has soared.  

Other industrialized

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