MacArthur Fellows Program

Michael J. Piore

Economist | Class of March 1984

Cambridge, Massachusetts
44 at time of award
Area of Focus
Published March 1, 1984

About Michael's Work

Michael Piore is a labor economist who has worked on problems in industrial relations, employment, and training.

Piore’s work focuses on how the economic environment of the 1970s and 1980s has impacted institutional structures of industrial economies and contributed to the shift from mass production to “flexible specialization.”  He has been particularly interested in the increasing importance of small businesses and agglomerations of small firms, and in the decentralization of power and authority in large, corporate organizations.  Piore was one of the originators of the dual, labor-market hypothesis, the notion that low-wage workers are confined to a separate labor market, and that their unemployment wage rates have to be understood in terms of the structure of that market and the function it plays in the economy.  He is the author of Birds of Passage: Migrant Labor and Industrial Societies (1979), Beyond Individualism: How Social Demands of the New Interest Groups Constrain America (1995) and co-author of Dualism and Discontinuity in Industrial Society (1980), The Second Industrial Divide (1984), and Innovation: The Missing Dimension (2004).


Piore is the David W. Skinner Professor of Political Economy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Piore received a B.A. (1962) and a Ph.D. (1966) from Harvard University.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

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