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Labor Market Policy in the Great Recession: Some Lessons from Denmark and Germany

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  • John Schmitt

Abstract

This paper reviews the recent labor-market performance of 21 rich countries, with a focus on Denmark and Germany. Denmark, which was widely seen as one of the world's most successful labor markets before the downturn, has struggled in recent years. Germany, however, has outperformed the rest of the world's rich countries since 2007, despite earlier labor-market difficulties. Labor-market institutions seem to explain the different developments in the two economies. Danish institutions – which include extensive opportunities for education, training, and placement of unemployed workers – appear to perform well when the economy is at or near full employment, but have not been effective during the downturn. German labor-market institutions, which emphasize job security by keeping workers connected to their current employers, may have drawbacks when the economy is operating at or near full employment, but have performed well in the Great Recession. The paper also discusses lessons for U.S. labor-market policy.

Suggested Citation

  • John Schmitt, 2011. "Labor Market Policy in the Great Recession: Some Lessons from Denmark and Germany," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2011-12, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
  • Handle: RePEc:epo:papers:2011-12
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    File URL: http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/labor-2011-05.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daly, Mary C. & Hobijn, Bart & Valletta, Robert G., 2011. "The Recent Evolution of the Natural Rate of Unemployment," IZA Discussion Papers 5832, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Cahuc, Pierre & Carcillo, Stéphane, 2011. "Is Short-time Work a Good Method to Keep Unemployment Down?," CEPR Discussion Papers 8214, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Kenworthy, Lane, 2008. "Jobs with Equality," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199550609.
    4. Dean Baker, 2009. "Pay for Play? Tax Credits for Paid Time Off," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2009-13, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
    5. John Schmitt & Kris Warner, 2011. "Deconstructing Structural Unemployment," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2011-06, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
    6. Justin Weidner & John C. Williams, 2011. "What is the new normal unemployment rate?," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue feb14.
    7. Alexander Hijzen & Danielle Venn, 2011. "The Role of Short-Time Work Schemes during the 2008-09 Recession," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 115, OECD Publishing.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Christine Erhel & Charlotte Levionnois, 2013. "Labour Market Policies in Times of Crisis: A Comparison of the 1992-1993 and 2008-2010 Recessions," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00880933, HAL.
    2. Christine Erhel & Charlotte Levionnois, 2015. "Labour Market Policies in Times of Crisis: A Reaction Function Approach for the Period 1985–2010," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 29(2), pages 141-162, June.
    3. Jun Nie & Ethan Struby, 2011. "Would active labor market policies help combat high U.S. unemployment?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q III, pages 35-69.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Great Recession; recession; labor; labor policy;

    JEL classification:

    • E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics
    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
    • J - Labor and Demographic Economics
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy
    • J8 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards

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