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Evaluating the Connection Between Social Protection and Economic Flexib ility

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  • Rebecca M. Blank
  • Richard B. Freeman

Abstract

Over the last 10 years, a variety of analysts have blamed high unemployment and stagnant economic growth in Europe on inflexible labor markets and pointed to the US as a more flexible economy, due to its less regulated labor markets and less generous social protection programs. This paper reviews that debate, critiques the arguments about the relationship between social protection programs and labor market adjustment, and reviews the research literature on this topic. In general, we conclude that much less is known about the aggregate effects of social protection programs on the economy than is generally claimed. Within the very limited existing research, there is little evidence of a significant trade-off between social programs and labor market adjustment, although there is also not much evidence to support those who claim that social protection promotes economic growth. The paper ends by suggesting future research directions.

Suggested Citation

  • Rebecca M. Blank & Richard B. Freeman, 1993. "Evaluating the Connection Between Social Protection and Economic Flexib ility," NBER Working Papers 4338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4338 Note: LS
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Adeola F. Adenikinju & Olugboyega Oyeranti, 1999. "Characteristics and Behaviour of African Factor Markets and Market Institutions and Their Consequences for Economic Growth," CID Working Papers 31A, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    2. Jonas Agell, 2002. "On the Determinants of Labour Market Institutions: Rent Seeking vs. Social Insurance," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 3(2), pages 107-135, May.
    3. Sanders Korenman & David Neumark, 2000. "Cohort Crowding and Youth Labor Markets (A Cross-National Analysis)," NBER Chapters,in: Youth Employment and Joblessness in Advanced Countries, pages 57-106 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Cockx, Bart, 1999. "The Design of Active Labour Market Policies. What Matters and What Doesn't ?," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1999035, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    5. Alfonso Arpaia & Gilles Mourre, 2012. "Institutions And Performance In European Labour Markets: Taking A Fresh Look At Evidence," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(1), pages 1-41, February.
    6. Agell, J., 2000. "On the Determinants of Labour Market Institutions: Rent-sharing vs. Social Insurance," Papers 2000:16, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
    7. Axel Dreher & Noel Gaston, 2008. "Has Globalization Increased Inequality?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(3), pages 516-536, August.
    8. Olivier Davanne & Thierry Pujol, 1996. "Assurance et échanges de risque sur le marché du travail," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 291(1), pages 151-169.
    9. Jonas Agell, 2001. "Warum haben wir rigide Arbeitsmärkte? Rent-seeking versus Soziale Sicherung," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 2(4), pages 363-381, November.
    10. Mares, Isabela, 1996. "Firms and the welfare state: the emergence of new forms of unemployment," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economic Change and Employment FS I 96-308, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    11. Vodopivec, Milan & Raju, Dhushyanth, 2002. "Income support systems for the unemployed : issues and options," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 25529, The World Bank.
    12. Aino Salomäki & Teresa Munzi, 1999. "Net Replacement Rates of the Unemployed. Comparison of various approaches," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 133, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    13. George C. Bitros & Kyprianos Prodromidis, 2004. "Welfare benefits and the rate of unemployment: some evidence from the European Union in the last thirty years," Macroeconomics 0410004, EconWPA.
    14. Noel Gaston & Gulasekaran Rajaguru, 2004. "The Rise (and Fall) of Labour Market Programmes: The Role of Global and Domestic Factors," ISER Discussion Paper 0615, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General

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