Michael Piore

The Work Goes On

Michael Piore on internal labor markets, immigration, innovation, and more


Michael Piore, the David W. Skinner Professor of Political Economy, Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, joins the podcast to discuss his wide-ranging expertise across different areas of labor economics, including the function of internal labor markets, the labor market implications of immigration and migration, manufacturing and product innovation, and the social forces and structures that affect economic activity.

In this episode, Piore and Ashenfelter discuss:

  • How Piore ended up at Harvard for his undergraduate and graduate education, even though he wanted to attend a state university.
  • Piore’s work on internal labor markets–or factors related to the allocation of labor within a firm–and Piore’s book, “Internal Labor Markets and Manpower Analysis” that Ashenfelter calls “a collectible item” and “more than a book.”
  • A trip to Puerto Rico that led to Piore’s book on immigration and his study of how short-term migration affects U.S. labor markets.
  • Piore’s research on product innovation, as well his book “Beyond Individualism” that explores the social nature of economic activity.
  • Piore’s views on how U.S. policy has impacted Puerto Rico’s fiscal and economic health.

Michael Piore earned his Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1966. "The Work Goes On"—a podcast produced as Princeton's Industrial Relations Section (IR Section) celebrates its 100th anniversary—is an oral history of industrial relations and labor economics hosted by Princeton's Orley Ashenfelter.


Piore, Michael J., and Andrew Schrank. “Root-Cause Regulation: Protecting Work and Workers In the Twenty-First Century”. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2018.

Osterman, Paul, and Michael J. Piore. “Economy In Society: Essays In Honor of Michael J. Piore”. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2013.

Lester, Richard K., and Michael J Piore. “Innovation--The Missing Dimension”. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004.

Piore, Michael J. “Beyond Individualism”. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995.

Piore, Michael J. “Undocumented Workers and United States Immigration Policy”. Cambridge, MA: Migration and Development Study Group, Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1977.