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Structural reforms in Europe and the (in)coherence of institutions

  • Bruno Amable

The aim of this paper is to analyse the consequences of some structural reforms on the institutional coherence of OECD countries, particularly in Continental Europe, and on their economic performance, particularly as regards employment. Because institutions in developed political economies are interrelated through a complex network of complementarities, institutional change has consequences beyond the area concerned in a reform. This also implies that there are complementarity effects in reforms themselves. A challenge of reform programmes is therefore to achieve a new type of complementarity between reformed institutions. The paper presents empirical evidence questioning the compatibility of the ongoing structural reforms in product and labour markets with the existing institutional structures in some OECD countries. The coherence of the flexicurity strategy, i.e. a combination of labour-market flexibility and a generous welfare state, is also questioned, from the point of view of both economic efficiency and political economy. Copyright 2009, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Review of Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 25 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (Spring)
Pages: 17-39

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:25:y:2009:i:1:p:17-39
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  1. Amable, Bruno & Demmou, Lilas & Gatti, Donatella, 2007. "Employment Performance and Institutions: New Answers to an Old Question," IZA Discussion Papers 2731, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 2000. "The Political Economy of Labour Market Institutions," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198293323.
  3. Amable, Bruno & Gatti, Donatella, 2004. "The Political Economy of Job Protection and Income Redistribution," IZA Discussion Papers 1404, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Aoki, Masahiko, 1994. "The Contingent Governance of Teams: Analysis of Institutional Complementarity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 35(3), pages 657-76, August.
  5. Amable, Bruno, 2003. "The Diversity of Modern Capitalism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199261147.
  6. Richard Freeman, 2005. "Labour market institutions without blinders: The debate over flexibility and labour market performance," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 129-145.
  7. Oliveira Martins, Joaquim & De Macedo, Jorge Braga, 2008. "Growth, Reform Indicators and Policy Complementarities," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/7960, Paris Dauphine University.
  8. Amable, Bruno & Gatti, Donatella, 2004. "Labour and Product Market Reforms: A Case for Policy Complementarity," IZA Discussion Papers 1190, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Dean Baker & Andrew Glyn & David Howell & John Schmitt, 2002. "Labor Market Institutions and Unemployment: A Critical Assessment of the Cross-Country Evidence," SCEPA working paper series. SCEPA's main areas of research are macroeconomic policy, inequality and poverty, and globalization. 2002-17, Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA), The New School.
  10. Bruno Amable & Donatella Gatti, 2004. "Product market competition, job security, and aggregate employment," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 667-686, October.
  11. Nickell, Stephen, 1999. "Product markets and labour markets1," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 1-20, March.
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