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Flexicurity – Labour Market Performance in Denmark

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  • Torben Andersen
  • Michael Svarer

Abstract

Unemployment is at a low and stable level in Denmark. This achievement is often attributed to the so-called flexicurity model combining flexible hiring and firing rules for employers with income security for employees. Whatever virtues this model may have, a low and stable unemployment rate is not automatically among them since the basic flexicurity properties were also in place during the 1970s and 1980s where high and persistent unemployment was prevalent. Labour market performance has changed due to a series of reforms during the 1990s, the main thrust of which were a shift from a passive focus of labour market policies to a more active focus on job search and employment. The policy tightened eligibility for unemployment benefits and their duration as well as introduced workfare elements into unemployment insurance and social policies in general. Thereby policy makers attempted to strengthen the incentive structure without taking resort to general benefit reductions. We argue that the workfare policies have played an important role running primarily via motivation/threat and wage effects. However, active labour market policies are resource demanding, and although the workfare reforms have improved cost effectiveness, there is still an issue as to whether the resources going into active labour market policies are used efficiently.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2007/wp-cesifo-2007-10/cesifo1_wp2108.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2108.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2108

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  1. Rafael Lalive & Jan C. van Ours & Josef Zweimüller, 2005. "The Effect Of Benefit Sanctions On The Duration Of Unemployment," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(6), pages 1386-1417, December.
  2. Abbring, Jaap H. & Berg, Gerard J. van den & Ours, Jan C. van, 1996. "The effect of unemployment insurance sanctions on the transition rate from unemployment to employment," Serie Research Memoranda 0038, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
  3. Peter Fredriksson & Bertil Holmlund, 2003. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance Design: Time Limits, Monitoring, or Workfare?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1019, CESifo Group Munich.
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  5. Michael Svarer, 2007. "The Effect of Sanctions on the Job Finding Rate: Evidence from Denmark," Economics Working Papers 2007-10, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
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  7. Michael Rosholm & Michael Svarer, 2004. "Estimating the Threat Effect of Active Labour Market Programmes," Economics Working Papers 2004-6, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  8. Graversen, B.K. & Ours, J.C. van, 2006. "How to Help Unemployed Find Jobs Quickly: Experimental Evidence from a Mandatory Activation Program," Discussion Paper 2006-126, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  9. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey A. Smith & Mark C. Berger & Brett J. Noel, 2003. "Is the Threat of Reemployment Services More Effective Than the Services Themselves? Evidence from Random Assignment in the UI System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1313-1327, September.
  10. Donald O. Parsons & Torben Tranæs & Helene Bie Lilleør, 1999. "Voluntary Public Unemployment Insurance," EPRU Working Paper Series 03-05, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised Jun 2003.
  11. Aki Kangasharju, 2007. "Do Wage Subsidies Increase Employment in Subsidized Firms?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 74(293), pages 51-67, 02.
  12. Torben Andersen & Michael Svarer, 2008. "The Role of Workfare in Striking a Balance between Incentives and Insurance in the Labour Market," CESifo Working Paper Series 2267, CESifo Group Munich.
  13. David Gray, 2003. "National Versus Regional Financing and Management of Unemployment and Related Benefits: The Case of Canada," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 14, OECD Publishing.
  14. Prowse, Victoria, 2005. "State Dependence in a Multi-State Model of Employment Dynamics," IZA Discussion Papers 1623, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Lars Pico Geerdsen, 2006. "Is there a Threat Effect of Labour Market Programmes? A Study of ALMP in the Danish UI System," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(513), pages 738-750, 07.
  16. Jespersen, Svend T. & Munch, Jakob R. & Skipper, Lars, 2008. "Costs and benefits of Danish active labour market programmes," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 859-884, October.
  17. Graversen, Brian Krogh & van Ours, Jan C., 2006. "How to Help Unemployed Find Jobs Quickly: Experimental Evidence from a Mandatory Activation Program," IZA Discussion Papers 2504, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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