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This paper argues that a key contributor to the rising income inequality that has emerged over the last 25 years in industrial economies are the variations appearing within employment systems. After reviewing the debate over income inequality the paper highlights the core findings of a research project that analyzed changes in employment relations in Australia, Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States with a special focus on the automobile and telecommunications industries. The research finds much similarity across countries in the various patterns of workplace practices that are spreading and also much that is common in the changes occurring in the processes and structures of labor-management interactions. At the same time, within both the union and non-union sectors the extent of variation in wages, work practices, and other employment conditions has increased. There is no evidence of a simple new international convergence in employment relations. The research summarized within this paper illustrates the virtues of an institutional perspective that takes into account employment systems and shifting power relations as well as economic pressures.