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The Interaction of Labor Market Regulation and Labor Market Policies in Welfare State Reform

  • Eichhorst, Werner

    ()

    (IZA)

  • Konle-Seidl, Regina

    ()

    (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg)

Employment protection legislation, unemployment benefits and active labor market policy are Janus-faced institutions. On the one hand they are devices of insurance against labor market risk that provide income and employment security. On the other hand they influence the capacities of labor markets to adapt to changing economic conditions since institutional features of the welfare state also affect actors' economic adaptation strategies. Insufficient labor market adaptability results in higher and more persistent unemployment. Hence, in order to in-crease the adaptability of European labor markets, reforms had to address these closely inter-acting policy areas. The first aim of the paper is to describe recent reforms of employment protection, unemployment insurance and active labor market policies in different European welfare states (Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Spain and Germany). The paper shows whether and to what extent national policy patterns converge in the direction of a new balance of flexibility and security with employment protection being eased and labor market policies being "activated" through a combination of "carrots and sticks". Secondly, in terms of the political economy of welfare state reforms, the paper will answer the question whether consistent reforms of the three institutions are more likely in political systems characterized by relative strong government and/or social partnership since such institutional prerequisites may favor "package deals" across policy areas.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1718.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Comparative Labor Law and Policy Journal, 2006, 28 (1), 1- 41; also available in Chinese
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1718
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  1. Juan José Dolado & Carlos García-Serrano & Juan F. Jimeno, . "Drawing Lessons from the Boom of Temporary Jobs in Spain," Working Papers 2001-11, FEDEA.
  2. Martin, John P. & Grubb, David, 2001. "What works and for whom: a review of OECD countries' experiences with active labour market policies," Working Paper Series 2001:14, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
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  7. Olivier Blanchard & Justin Wolfers, 1999. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. Madsen, P.K., 2006. "Labour Market Flexibility and Social Protection in European Welfare States - Contrasts and Similarities," Australian Bulletin of Labour, National Institute of Labour Studies, vol. 32(2), pages 139-162.
  10. Kugler, Adriana & Jimeno, Juan F. & Hernanz, Virginia, 2002. "Employment Consequences of Restrictive Permanent Contracts: Evidence from Spanish Labor Market Reforms," IZA Discussion Papers 657, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  12. Gangl, Markus, 2002. "Unemployment benefits as a search subsidy: New evidence on duration and wage effects of unemployment insurance," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Labor Market Policy and Employment FS I 02-208, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
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  14. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 2004. "Why are European Countries Diverging in their Unemployment Experience?," IDEI Working Papers 269, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  15. Orszag, Mike & Snower, Dennis J., 1998. "Anatomy of Policy Complementarities," CEPR Discussion Papers 1963, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  22. Ebbinghaus, Bernhard & Hassel, Anke, 1999. "Striking deals: Concertation in the reform of continental European welfare states," MPIfG Discussion Paper 99/3, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
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