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Sharing risk: on social risk management and the governance of labour market transitions


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  • Schmid, Günther
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    This is a paper based on the annual lecture in honour of Hugo Sinzheimer at November 10, 2005, Hugo-Sinzheimer-Institute at the University of Amsterdam. In 1928, Sinzheimer wrote an article entitled “Die Demokratisierung des Arbeitsverhältnisses,” (The Democratisation of the Employment Relationship). His references to unemployment insurance that had been enacted just one year earlier went beyond the participation of trade unions and employers in administration as an essential element of democratization. Sinzheimer put even more emphasis on another aspect of democratization, namely, the enlargement of the risksharing community to embrace all workers, indeed, the whole economy. The argument of the paper is that sharing risks through universal and state-guaranteed unemployment insurance is still as valid as in the time of Hugo Sinzheimer. There is no reason to roll back the welfare state. On the contrary, there are strong reasons to defend the principle of social insurance. By combining a kind of work-life insurance with soft forms of governance, this principle—that of “sharing risks”— can even be extended to include the new risks related to critical events during the life course. The argument is developed by answering the following questions: First, what are the new risks to which established insurance systems have to respond? Second, what are the advantages of social insurance compared to private savings? Third, how should we share for example the risks related to parenting and to continuing education and training? Fourth, how do we overcome risk-aversion to stimulate more individual risk-taking and thereby more responsibility? -- Dieses Papier basiert auf der jährlichen Vorlesung zu Ehren von Hugo Sinzheimer am 10. November 2005, Hugo-Sinzheimer-Institut der Universität Amsterdam. Sinzheimer schrieb 1928 einen Artikel über “Die Demokratisierung des Arbeitsverhältnisses”. In diesem Artikel hob er nicht nur die Beteiligung der Sozialpartner an der Verwaltung der Arbeitslosenversicherung, die gerade ein Jahr zuvor in Kraft getreten war, als einen Fortschritt der Demokratisierung hervor. Vielmehr betonte er einen anderen Aspekt der Demokratisierung, nämlich die Erweiterung der Risikogemeinschaft auf alle Arbeiter, ja auf die gesamte Wirtschaft. Das Argument dieses Papiers ist, dass eine universelle und staatlich garantierte Arbeitslosenversicherung nach wie vor gültig ist wie zu Zeiten Hugo Sinzheimers. Es gibt keine Gründe, den Wohlfahrtsstaat zurückzufahren. Es gibt sogar Gründe, das Prinzip der Sozialversicherung auf neue Risiken des Arbeitsmarktes auszudehnen. Durch die Kombination einer Art Arbeitslebensversicherung und weicher Formen von Steuerung kann das Prinzip solidarischer Risikoteilung auch auf die Einkommensrisiken im Zusammenhang mit kritischen Ereignissen im Lebenslauf angewendet werden. Dieses Argument wird durch die Beantwortung folgender vier Fragen entwickelt: Erstens, welches sind die neuen Risiken, auf die etablierte soziale Sicherungssysteme zu reagieren haben? Zweitens, welche Vorteile hat die Sozialversicherung gegenüber privatem Sparen? Drittens, wie sollen beispielsweise die Risiken im Zusammenhang mit Elternschaft und beruflicher Weiterbildung geteilt werden? Viertens, wie kann der verbreiteten Risikoaversion begegnet werden, um individuelle Risikobereitschaft und damit verbundene Verantwortung zu stimulieren?

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    Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Labor Market Policy and Employment with number SP I 2006-101.

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    Date of creation: 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzblpe:spi2006101

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    1. Muffels, Ruud & Wilthagen, Ton & van den Heuvel, Nick, 2002. "Labour market transitions and employment regimes: Evidence on the flexibility-security nexus in transitional labour markets," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Labor Market Policy and Employment FS I 02-204, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    2. Peter A. Diamond (ed.), 1999. "Issues in Privatizing Social Security: Report of an Expert Panel of the National Academy of Social Insurance," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262041774, December.
    3. Agell, J., 1998. "On the Benefits from Rigid Labour Markets: Norms, Market Failures, and Social Insurance," Papers 1998:17, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
    4. Hans-Werner Sinn, 1995. "Social Insurance, Incentives, and Risk Taking," NBER Working Papers 5335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. James Heckman & Carolyn Heinrich & Jeffrey Smith, 2002. "The Performance of Performance Standards," NBER Working Papers 9002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. A. B. Atkinson, 1999. "The Economic Consequences of Rolling Back the Welfare State," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262011719, December.
    7. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1995. " A Theory of the Welfare State," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 495-526, December.
    8. Bruce Chapman & Chris Ryan, 2003. "The Access Implications of Income Contingent Charges for Higher Education: Lessons from Australia," CEPR Discussion Papers 463, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    9. Jonas Agell, 2002. "On the Determinants of Labour Market Institutions: Rent Seeking vs. Social Insurance," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 3(2), pages 107-135, 05.
    10. Acemoglu, Daron & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 1996. "Why do Firms Train? Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 1460, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Mark Pearson & John P. Martin, 2005. "Should We Extend the Role of Private Social Expenditure?," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 23, OECD Publishing.
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    Cited by:
    1. Schulze Buschoff, Karin, 2007. "Self-employment and social risk management: Comparing Germany and the United Kingdom," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Labor Market Policy and Employment SP I 2007-103, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).


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