IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Critical Analysis of Some Well-Intended Proposals to Fight Unemployment

  • Gebhard Kirchgässner


In this paper it is asked whether it is meaningful to state a ‘right to work’ as a basic human right to be written down in the constitution, for example, whether working time should generally be reduced, and whether those who do not have (or find) a job should get a guaranteed minimal income. All three demands have to be rejected, at least in the radical form in which they are often stated. They cannot be realised at all or at least not without impairing other basic human rights. Finally, it is asked what can be retained from these (usually well-intended) demands.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen in its series University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2009 with number 2009-17.

in new window

Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2009:2009-17
Contact details of provider: Postal: Dufourstrasse 50, CH - 9000 St.Gallen
Phone: +41 71 224 23 25
Fax: +41 71 224 31 35
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 1999. "Shadow Economies Around the World - Size, Causes, and Consequences," CESifo Working Paper Series 196, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Norbert Berthold, 2001. "Das Bündnis für Arbeit - Ein Weg aus der institutionellen Verflechtungsfalle?," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 2(4), pages 383-406, November.
  3. Blundell, Richard, 2006. "Earned income tax credit policies: Impact and optimality: The Adam Smith Lecture, 2005," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 423-443, August.
  4. Skans, Oskar Nordstrom, 2004. "The impact of working-time reductions on actual hours and wages: evidence from Swedish register-data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(5), pages 647-665, October.
  5. Crépon, Bruno & Kramarz, Francis, 2002. "Employed 40 Hours or Not-Employed 39: Lessons from the 1982 Mandatory Reduction of the Workweek," IZA Discussion Papers 416, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Howell David R. & Baker Dean & Glyn Andrew & Schmitt John, 2007. "Are Protective Labor Market Institutions at the Root of Unemployment? A Critical Review of the Evidence," Capitalism and Society, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-73, May.
  7. Robert A. Moffitt, 2003. "The Negative Income Tax and the Evolution of U.S. Welfare Policy," NBER Working Papers 9751, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Hunt, Jennifer, 1997. "Has Work Sharing Worked in Germany?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1553, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Kapteyn, Arie & Kalwij, Adriaan & Zaidi, Asghar, 2004. "The myth of worksharing," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 293-313, June.
  10. Risse, Mathias, 2007. "A Right to Work? A Right to Holidays with Pay? Labor Rights as Human Rights," Working Paper Series rwp07-058, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  11. DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Preferences over inflation and unemployment: Evidence from surveys of happiness," ZEI Working Papers B 03-2001, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  12. Widerquist, Karl, 2005. "A failure to communicate: what (if anything) can we learn from the negative income tax experiments?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 49-81, February.
  13. 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.
  14. Calmfors, Lars & Hoel, Michael, 1988. " Work Sharing and Overtime," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 90(1), pages 45-62.
  15. Ronnie Schöb und Joachim Weimann & Joachim Weimann, 2003. "Kombilohn: Die Magdeburger Alternative," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 4(1), pages 1-17, 02.
  16. Harvey Philip L., 2006. "The Relative Cost of a Universal Basic Income and a Negative Income Tax," Basic Income Studies, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-24, December.
  17. Dominik H. Enste & Friedrich Schneider, 2000. "Shadow Economies: Size, Causes, and Consequences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 77-114, March.
  18. Marimon, Ramon & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2000. "Employment and distributional effects of restricting working time," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(7), pages 1291-1326, June.
  19. Olivier Blanchard, 2006. "European unemployment: the evolution of facts and ideas," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 21(45), pages 5-59, 01.
  20. Bosch, Gerhard & Lehndorff, Steffen, 2001. "Working-Time Reduction and Employment: Experiences in Europe and Economic Policy Recommendations," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(2), pages 209-43, March.
  21. Schelling, Thomas C, 1978. "Egonomics, or the Art of Self-Management," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 290-94, May.
  22. Robin Boadway & Katherine Cuff, 1999. "A Minimum Wage Can Be Welfare-Improving and Employment-Enhancing," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 72, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  23. Huang, Chun-chieh, et al, 2002. "Worker Productivity, Working Time Reduction, and the Short-Run and Long-Run Employment Effects," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 49(4), pages 357-68, September.
  24. Gerlach, Knut & Stephan, Gesine, 1996. "A paper on unhappiness and unemployment in Germany," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 325-330, September.
  25. Guy MUNDLAK, 2007. "The right to work: Linking human rights and employment policy," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 146(3-4), pages 189-215, 09.
  26. Emin M. Dinlersoz & Rubén Hernández-Murillo, 2002. "Did "right-to-work" work for Idaho?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 29-42.
  27. Shlomo Maital, 1986. "Prometheus Rebound: On Welfare-Improving Constraints," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 337-344, Jul-Sep.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:usg:dp2009:2009-17. 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: (Martina Flockerzi)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.