German employers and the origins of unemployment insurance. Skills interest or strategic accommodation?
This paper analyzes the attitudes of industrial employers during the German Empire and the Weimar Republic towards the adoption of public unemployment insurance. While employers initially opposed unemployment insurance, they eventually endorsed it. What explains this shift in attitude? The paper tests two alternative theses: the conventional power resource thesis and the newer skills interest thesis. While the power resource thesis explains social protection as the result of distributive conflicts between employers and labor, the skills interest thesis sees it as an outcome of joint interests in skills investment by capital and labor. The study concludes that the power resource thesis has the greater explanatory power. Employers' support of unemployment insurance was an attempt to defeat other policy options on the agenda rather than an effort to promote skills investment. An unfavorable policy legacy and a sustained change in political majorities are the main factors that explain the change in positions. Fear of rising labor costs and the erosion of work incentives shaped employers' preferences rather than an interest in protecting skills investments. On a more general level, the results show the significant impact of political constraints on the positions actors take and the importance of short-term considerations in processes of preference formation.
|Date of creation:||2011|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Paulstr. 3, 50676 Köln|
Phone: + 49 (0) 221-2767-0
Web page: http://www.mpifg.de/
More information through EDIRC
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgd:115. 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: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics)
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.