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Social democracy and full employment

  • Glyn, Andrew

Full employment was the centrepiece of the economic policy of social democracy in the post-war period. Whilst the role of Keynesianism in policy making may be exaggerated, it offered the prospect of maintaining full employment without any section of society having to pay. Problems with the foreign balance and with the budget deficits, however, may require that some part of society has to pay with reduced consumption for full employment. This will tend to sharpen the distributive conflicts which, as Kalecki argued, are endemic to full employment capitalism and which eventually rendered it unsustainable by undermining profitability and the dynamism of private investment. The demand necessary to sustain full employment can be maintained by a balanced budget expansion provided the political support can be secured for the higher taxation and provided the institutions for containing distributional conflict can be developed.

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Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economic Change and Employment with number FS I 95-302.

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Date of creation: 1995
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbece:fsi95302
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  1. Bhaskar, V. & Glyn, A., 1992. "Investment and Profitability: The Evidence from the Advanced Capitalist Countries," Economics Series Working Papers 99144, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Albert Ma, C.T. & Weiss, A.M., 1991. "A Signaling Theory of Unemployment," Papers 7, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  3. Calmfors, Lars, 1993. "Lessons from the macroeconomic experience of Sweden," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 25-72, March.
  4. Boltho, Andrea, 1989. "Did policy activism work?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(9), pages 1709-1726, December.
  5. Layard, R. & Nickell, S., 1991. "Unemployment in the OECD Countries," Economics Series Working Papers 99130, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Glyn, A, 1997. "Does Aggregate Profitability Really Matter?," Papers 17, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  7. Lundberg, Erik, 1985. "The Rise and Fall of the Swedish Model," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 23(1), pages 1-36, March.
  8. Nickell, S., 1991. "Wages, Unemployment and Population Change," Economics Series Working Papers 99122, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  9. Jackman, Richard & Layard, Richard, 1991. "Does Long-term Unemployment Reduce a Person's Chance of a Job? A Time-Series Test," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 58(229), pages 93-106, February.
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