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Labor Market Rigidities: At the Root of Unemployment in Europe

  • Horst Siebert
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    This paper studies the major institutional changes at the root of the increase in the west European unemployment trade in the last quarter century from below 3 percent to 11 percent. The institutional characteristics of wage bargaining and the legal rules hamper the self-equilibrating function of the labor market. The reservation wage, raised by the welfare state's rise, has affected the bargaining process, the wage level and the wage structure. Econometric evidence is presented. Since the mid-1980s, differences emerge, and the Scandinavian, the French-Mediterranean, the German, and the British-Dutch approach to the labor market can be distinguished.

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    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

    Volume (Year): 11 (1997)
    Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
    Pages: 37-54

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:11:y:1997:i:3:p:37-54
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.11.3.37
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    1. Assar Lindbeck & Dennis Snower, 1996. "Centralised Bargaining, Multitasking and Work Incentives," Archive Discussion Papers 9624, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.
    2. Lawrence F. Katz & Gary W. Loveman & David G. Blanchflower, 1993. "A Comparison of Changes in the Structure of Wages," NBER Working Papers 4297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Lindbeck, A, 1996. "The West European Employment Problem," Papers 616, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
    4. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173.
    5. Lawrence F. Katz & Bruce D. Meyer, 1988. "The Impact of the Potential Duration of Unemployment Benefits on the Duration of Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 2741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
    7. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Job security, employment and wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 851-879, June.
    8. Lars Calmfors, 1993. "Centralisation of Wage Bargaining and Macroeconomic Performance: A Survey," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 131, OECD Publishing.
    9. Steven J. Davis, 1992. "Cross-Country Patterns of Change in Relative Wages," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1992, Volume 7, pages 239-300 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. David Blanchflower & L Katz & G Loveman, 1993. "A Comparison of Changes in the Structure of Wages in Four OECD Countries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0144, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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