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Unemployment protection reforms in Southern European countries between 2004 and 2016 and the trade-off between efficiency and equity


  • Manuela Arcanjo


Efficiency and equity are the two core objectives of unemployment protection schemes. Substantial academic production has focused on theoretically discussing the adverse effects of unemployment benefits as well as their empirical validation. However, the evaluations made of unemployment protection reforms, implemented in every European country, have not as a rule been based on these two state intervention objectives. Hence, this constitutes the main purpose of this article. To this end, we subjected the reform measures undertaken in four southern European countries between 2004 and 2016 to analysis. Three different profiles were identified: the Italian reforms improved both efficiency and equity; Portugal and Spain returned an opposite profile while in Greece, an improvement in efficiency was counterbalanced by a negative impact on equity.

Suggested Citation

  • Manuela Arcanjo, 2018. "Unemployment protection reforms in Southern European countries between 2004 and 2016 and the trade-off between efficiency and equity," Working Papers Department of Economics 2018/10, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
  • Handle: RePEc:ise:isegwp:wp042018

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Yosuke Jin & Patrick Lenain, 2015. "Labour market reform for more and better quality jobs in Italy," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1266, OECD Publishing.
    2. Boeri, Tito & Jimeno, Juan F., 2016. "Learning from the Great Divergence in unemployment in Europe during the crisis," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 32-46.
    3. Barr, Nicholas, 2012. "Economics of the Welfare State," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 5, number 9780199297818.
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    More about this item


    unemployment benefits; efficiency; equity; reforms; Southern countries;

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies


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