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The Many Futures of the Contract of Employment


  • Simon Deakin


The contract of employment heads the list of those labour market institutions whose continued usefulness is called into question by what appear to be fundamental changes in the world of work. However, given the multiple tasks of classification, regulation and redistribution which it has historically been called on to perform, it is the durability of the contract of employment, rather than its supposed ineffectiveness, which requires explanation. From an evolutionary perspective, the employment contract is best understood as a governance mechanism which links together work organisation with labour supply in such a way as to make it possible to manage long-term economic risks. The paper sets out a number of possible futures for the employment contract as a mechanism for risk management, and identifies 'mutations' within the conceptual framework of employment law which suggest possible directions of change.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Deakin, 2000. "The Many Futures of the Contract of Employment," Working Papers wp191, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cbr:cbrwps:wp191
    Note: PRO-2

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    More about this item


    employment contract; collective bargaining; welfare state;

    JEL classification:

    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy

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