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University of Chicago Law Review


Social science has a threefold task: first, that of describing the phenomena of social life; second, that of classifying and arranging these phenomena in a systematic order; and, finally, that of investigating regularities of relations between social phenomena in the order of cause and effect. Wages and governmental efforts to influence their level are social phenomena. In the following article an attempt will be made to classify various methods of governmental wage policy under certain type situations and to arrange these type situations in a systematic order. It is hoped that such an arrangement may be helpful in the way any classification is helpful, viz. in pointing out the problems and the possible ways in which they may be solved. No attempt has been made, however, to give an encyclopedic survey of all existing wage regulation schemes. Such a task would require a bulky work, possibly of several volumes. All statements on wage regulation laws contained in this article are no more than illustrations of type situations. Furthermore, no attempt has been made here to explore the economic effects of the various measures which have been adopted by the different countries for the purpose of influencing the wage level. Such an inquiry, again, would require a voluminous treatise, written by a scholar of applied economics. The present article ought to be taken simply as an investigation preliminary both to an encyclopedic description of existing wage regulation schemes and to an inquiry into their economic and political effects.

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