Comparer les marchés du travail
The labour market performances of the French economy have traditionally been very poor. The aim of this conference is to review some explaining factors often presented as being at the root of the problem. The paper first recalls some important facts, such as the end of the ?catch-up?? period in Europe, or some changes in the composition of working force, and how some countries absorbed them. It discusses the arguments of ?lack of flexibility??, in the usual accepted meaning of the word, and argues that the proofs of their relevance are not always as convincing as what would be needed in such case. On the other hand, the argument of excessive tightness of economic policy is equally not convincing, and we are only sure of what occurred in the early nineties. The paper then highlights some facts, such as the lack of formation of the French labour force, especially its fraction which endured the hardest period of the crisis. It seems that there was no coherence between truly ambitious objectives (such a high level of minimum wage), and the means to achieve them, which are not concentrated in the field of the labour relations. The paper also emphasizes the probable importance of unobserved heterogeneities in the comparative analysis of labour markets. To ignore them would be misleading in two ways: first, to exaggerate the general importance of rigidities, second to misrepresent the negative impact of some of them. Classification JEL : E6, J6, N3
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