IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/lev/wrkpap/wp_732.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Beyond Full Employment: The Employer of Last Resort as an Institution for Change

Author

Listed:
  • Pavlina R. Tcherneva

Abstract

Over the past decade and a half the ability of the employer-of-last-resort (ELR) proposal to deliver full employment and price stability has been discussed at length in the literature. A different issue has received relatively little attention—namely, the concern that even when the ELR produces these macroeconomic benefits, it does so by offering "low-paying" "dead-end" jobs, further denigrating the unemployed. In this context, the important buffer stock feature of the ELR is misconstrued as a hydraulic mechanism that prioritizes macroeconomic stability over the program's benefits to the unemployed. This paper argues that the two objectives are not mutually exclusive by revisiting Argentina's experience with Plan Jefes and its subsequent reform. Plan Jefes is the only direct job creation program in the world specifically modeled after the modern ELR proposal developed in the United States. With respect to macroeconomic stability, the paper reviews how it exhibits some of the key stabilizing features of ELR that have been postulated in the literature, even though it was not designed as an unconditional job guarantee. Plan Jefes also illustrated that public employment programs can have a transformative impact on persistent socioeconomic problems such as poverty and gender disparity. Women-by far the largest group of program beneficiaries-report key benefits to their communities, families, children, and (importantly) themselves from participation in Jefes. Argentina's experience shows that direct job creation programs that offer employment at a base wage can have the unique capacity to empower and undermine prevailing structures that produce and reproduce poverty and gender disparities. Because the latter two problems are multidimensional, the ELR cannot be treated as a panacea, but rather as an important policy tool that remedies some of the most entrenched and resilient causes of poverty and gender inequality. The paper examines survey evidence based on narratives by female participants in Jefes to assess these potentially transformative aspects of the ELR proposal.

Suggested Citation

  • Pavlina R. Tcherneva, 2012. "Beyond Full Employment: The Employer of Last Resort as an Institution for Change," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_732, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_732
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/wp_732.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. L. Randall Wray, 1998. "Modern Money," Macroeconomics 9810002, EconWPA.
    2. Daniel Kostzer, 2008. ""Argentina--A Case Study on the Plan Jefes y Jefas de Hogar Desocupados, or the Employment Road to Economic Recovery," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_534, Levy Economics Institute.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Employer of Last Resort; Full Employment; Gender Inequality; Poverty;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_732. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Elizabeth Dunn). General contact details of provider: http://www.levyinstitute.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.