Daniel Graff

posts and bio Daniel Graff

Daniel Graff is Director of the Higgins Labor Program and Professor of the Practice in the Department of History at the University of Notre Dame.


John Prine’s “Grandpa Was a Carpenter”

by on April 14, 2020

The great John Prine, a victim of the coronavirus last week, spent a career penning and performing songs about his own death, many of them winningly whimsical, from 1973’s “Please Don’t Bury Me” to 2018’s “When I Get to Heaven.” Prine’s vision of death was irreverent, and over a half-century of songwriting he optimistically anticipated an afterlife filled with wonderful encounters and experiences straight out of … well, the best John Prine songs.

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What’s up with wages? Nothing, and that’s a problem (not a puzzle)

by on September 20, 2018

Increasing inequality is a pressing problem requiring serious research and vigorous debate as we strive for policies that improve people’s opportunities and outcomes. One direct way to tackle this challenge is to confront the problem of pay, especially in the United States, where our public culture has long correlated hard work with personal worth and our public policies have wedded social benefits to employment via tax credits, health care insurance and pensions.

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A Tale of Two Futures: The Fate of the Dollar General Economy

by on March 19, 2018

Dollar General is everywhere.

The most visible manifestation, of course, is the proliferation of their concrete block stores littering the landscape. But it’s more than that. After twenty-seven consecutive years of sales growth, Dollar General is attracting increasing attention from investors as the brick-and-mortar retailer most likely to survive the onslaught of online juggernaut Amazon.

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Crossover Appeal: Athletes, Artists, and Activists

by on October 18, 2017

Usually I fear that the enterprise we call social media presages worldwide doom, but once in a great while I find it promises whimsical delight, as when a Facebook friend recently began posting seemingly random snippets of song lyrics. It’s been a fun diversion identifying the songs and coming up with witty rejoinders while ignoring posts from others demanding that I “like” the American flag and join boycotts of the National Football League (NFL).

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It’s Time to Fire the “Union Boss”: Here’s Why

by on September 4, 2017

In case natural disaster, nuclear war, and unpredictable political leaders are not enough to keep us up at night, we remain under threat by an age-old specter: the menace of the “union boss.” Just this week a Newsmax headline screamed “Union Boss: Too Early for 2018 Targets,” while the Washington Times blared “Union boss Richard Trumka focused on retaking Trump’s Rust Belt states next year.”

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