Real wages are a measure of the value of an hour of work measured in goods. Comparisons across countries are a natural measure of worker productivity and well being. Orley Ashenfelter's large scale project compares wage rates across countries and over time using the standardized work and products at McDonald's restaurants. Despite some growth in developing countries, real wage rates differ massively in rich and poor countries, and there are surprising gaps between American states as well.
Professor Orley C. Ashenfelter FBA, Joseph Douglas Green 1895 Professor of Economics, Princeton University
Lord Richard Layard FBA, Co-Director, Well-being Programme, Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science
Find out more about the Keynes Lecture in Economics.