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On the European readiness for flexicurity: Empirical evidence with OECD/HBS methodologies and reform proposals

  • Tangian, Andranik
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    The Fourth European Working Conditions Survey (European Foundation 2007) is used to investigate the readiness of Europe to flexicurity labour market reforms proposed by the European Commission (= flexibilization of employment relations compensated by improvements in employment security backed up by lifelong learning). For this purpose, composite indicators of flexibility, precariousness and decentness of work are constructed with the OECD and HBS (Hans Boeckler Stiftung) methodologies which differ in scaling. Then the indices are visualized with specially designed tabular graphs and analysed. Both methodologies give quite similar results. It is revealed that (1) factual flexibility (as it is practiced) radically differs from institutional flexibility (prescribed by employment protection legislation), (2) flexibility and precariousness of work correlate with statistical certainty, moreover, no country combines high flexibility and low precariousness; (3) flexibilization has the strongest negative effect on employability; (4) there is an acute shortage of learning options, (5) learning makes a negative impact on job satisfaction, at the same time job stability is top esteemed, but not income which is ranked only 6th, and (6) working conditions of flexibly employed is worse than of normally employed, being even below the European average. It implies that the Commission's conception of flexicurity, neglecting the socio-economic reality, can be hardly efficient and successful. Therefore, an alternative implementation of flexicurity is proposed in the form of flexinsurance which assumes that the employer's contribution to social security should be proportional to the flexibility (precariousness) of the employment contract. To stimulate employers to equalize working conditions of normal and atypical employees, it is proposed to introduce a workplace tax for bad working conditions which should protect 'the working environment' in the same way as the green tax protects the natural environment.

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    Paper provided by The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Foundation in its series WSI Working Papers with number 160.

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    Date of creation: 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:wsidps:160
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    1. Eckhard Hein, 2005. "Die NAIRU – eine post-keynesianische Interpretation," Macroeconomics 0501009, EconWPA.
    2. Eckhard Hein & Achim Truger, 2004. "Macroeconomic co-ordination as an economic policy concept - opportunities and obstacles in the EMU," Macroeconomics 0408011, EconWPA.
    3. Eckhard Hein, 2004. "Interest rate, debt, distribution and capital accumulation in a post-Kaleckian model," Macroeconomics 0412005, EconWPA.
    4. Seifert, Hartmut, 2004. "Flexibility through working time accounts : reconciling economic efficiency and individual time requirements," WSI Working Papers 130, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Foundation.
    5. Tangian, Andranik S., 2005. "Composite indicator of German regional policy and its use for optimizing subsidies to regional labour markets," WSI Working Papers 138, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Foundation.
    6. Eckhard Hein & Thorsten Schulten & Achim Truger, 2004. "Wage trends and deflation risks in Germany and Europe," Macroeconomics 0412008, EconWPA.
    7. Hein, Eckhard & Schulten, Thorsten, 2004. "Unemployment, Wages and Collective Bargaining in the European Union," WSI Working Papers 128, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Foundation.
    8. Tangian, Andranik, 2008. "Towards Consistent Principles of Flexicurity," WSI Working Papers 159, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Foundation.
    9. Bothfeld, Silke, 2007. "Labour Market Institutions in Germany : Current Status and Ongoing Reforms," WSI Working Papers 152, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Foundation.
    10. Schulten, Thorsten, 2004. "Foundations and Perspectives of Trade Union Wage Policy in Europe," WSI Working Papers 129, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Foundation.
    11. Tangian, Andranik, 2006. "Monitoring flexicurity policies in Europe from three different viewpoints," WSI Working Papers 145, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Foundation.
    12. Tangian, Andranik S., 2004. "Liberal and trade-unionist concepts of flexicurity: Modelling in application to 16 European countries," WSI Working Papers 131, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans-Böckler-Foundation.
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