Friday, January 06, 2023

Review: Men Without Work: Post-Pandemic Edition

Men Without Work: Post-Pandemic Edition (2022)Men Without Work: Post-Pandemic Edition by Nicholas Eberstadt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An in-depth exploration of one of the major issues in labor economics: the large and growing percentage of prime-age men opting out of work. Eberstadt describes this growing phenomenon with lots and lots of graphs and data. He first gives the evidence for growing numbers of "un-working" men. He then describes the demographics of this group. He looks at what these men do and how they are able to do it without working. He also looks at some of the possible causes. Lastly, he briefly suggests some prescriptions to help reduce this problem.

One of the more interesting aspects of the book is that after the last chapter, there are two additional chapters by critics of book, and then a response by Eberstadt to the critics. The critics dispute aspects of Eberstadt's description of the problem, his explanation of the possible causes, and his prescriptions. This added a lot to my understanding of the ideas of the book.

It's a bit wonky and data-heavy for most readers; Eberstadt has appeared on any number of podcasts discussing the ideas in the book (that's how I heard about it). And unless you really want to dig into the data, those are probably sufficient to get the idea and the book is not necessary.

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