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Convergence without hard criteria: Does EU soft law affect domestic unemployment protection schemes?


  • Paetzold, Jörg

    () (University of Salzburg)

  • van Vliet, Olaf

    () (Department of Economics, Leiden University)


The European Employment Strategy (EES) aims to promote convergence of domestic labour market policies by soft law instruments. Previous studies on the impact of the EES are mainly focused on active labour market policies. The present study aims at explaining cross national variation in national passive labour market policies and unemployment benefit levels. Building on the most recent measures and pooled time series data, the empirical findings reveal the presence of a convergence process among the most advanced economies regarding passive labour market policy efforts, with the EES fostering this trend even further. Furthermore, our findings support the argument that the EES creates pressure on governments to reform domestic labour market policies, but this pressure varies across countries and over time. The results suggest that the recommendations from the European Council have contributed to unemployment benefit reform processes.

Suggested Citation

  • Paetzold, Jörg & van Vliet, Olaf, 2012. "Convergence without hard criteria: Does EU soft law affect domestic unemployment protection schemes?," Working Papers in Economics 2012-9, University of Salzburg.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:sbgwpe:2012_009

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Benjamin Furlan & Harald Oberhofer & Hannes Winner, 2016. "A note on merger and acquisition evaluation," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(3), pages 447-455.
    2. Sarah Marchal & Ive Marx, 2015. "Stemming the tide. What have EU countries done to support low-wage workers in an era of downward wage pressure?," ImPRovE Working Papers 15/18, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    3. Rathner, Sebastian, 2013. "The Relative Performance of Socially Responsible Investment Funds. New Evidence from Austria," Working Papers in Economics 2013-1, University of Salzburg.

    More about this item


    Passive labour market policies; convergence; European Employment Strategy; Europeanization; Open Method of Coordination; welfare state;

    JEL classification:

    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy

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