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Is the American Model Miss World? Choosing between the Anglo-Saxon Model and a European-Style Alternative

  • H.L.F. de Groot
  • R. Nahuis
  • P.J.G. Tang

Abstract In Lisbon, the European Union has set itself the goal to become the most competitive economy in the world in 2010 without harming social cohesion and the environment. The motivation for introducing this target is the substantially higher GDP per capita of US citizens. The difference in income is mainly a difference in the number of hours worked per employee. In terms of productivity per hour and employment per inhabitant, several European countries score equally well or even better than the United States, while at the same time they outperform the United States with a more equal distribution of income. The European social models are at least as interesting as the US model that is often considered a role model. In an empirical analysis for OECD countries, we aim to unravel ‘the secret of success’. Our regression results show that income redistribution (through a social security system) does not necessarily lead to lower participation and higher unemployment, provided that countries supplement it with active labour market policies. Especially, spending on employment services like job-search assistance and vocational guidance, seems effective. Furthermore, the results suggest that generous unemployment benefits of short duration contribute to employment without widening the income distribution.

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Paper provided by Utrecht School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 04-26.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:use:tkiwps:0426
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  1. Daveri, Francesco & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Unemployment, Growth and Taxation in Industrial Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 1681, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Belot, M.V.K., 2003. "Labor market institutions in OECD countries : Origins and consequences," Other publications TiSEM d9ec4bc4-0113-4677-a390-d, School of Economics and Management.
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  7. John P Martin, 1998. "What Works Among Active Labour Market Policies: Evidence from OECD Countries' Experiences," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Guy Debelle & Jeff Borland (ed.), Unemployment and the Australian Labour Market Reserve Bank of Australia.
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  14. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
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  16. Martin Neil Baily, 2001. "Macroeconomic implications of the new economy," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 201-268.
  17. Linda A. Bell & Richard B. Freeman, 2000. "The Incentive for Working Hard: Explaining Hours Worked Differences in the U.S. and Germany," NBER Working Papers 8051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Andersen, Torben M., 2004. "Challenges to the Scandinavian welfare model," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 743-754, September.
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