Impact and Process Evaluations in Selected European Countries
Labour Markets and Employment Policy series
Edited by Jaap de Koning and Hugh Mosley
Foreword Günther Schmid The reasons to look for new institutional arrangements to cope with structural change are straightforward. Unemployment in most post-industrial societies has risen to levels unprecedented in postwar history. In countries that face this phenomenon, rising levels of unemployment have led to persistent longterm unemployment. The economic and social problems related to this development are clear: the longer the exclusion from gainful employment, the higher the risk of also being excluded from full participation in social and political life. This holds especially true for women and for young people with low skills. This threat to social integration may even undermine the trust in the basic institutions of our democratic societies. An underlying assumption of this series is that a return to full employment in the traditional sense is highly unlikely or only at unacceptable social costs. If some countries succeeded in recent years in reaching levels of unemployment similar to those of the 1960s, it was either at the cost of high income differentials and increasing numbers of working poor or many precarious employment relationships, especially for women, and more or less involuntary early retirement for a great many older workers. The objective of this project, therefore, is the search for alternatives to such ill-conceived responses to ‘globalization’ and ‘individualization’, which in different ways can generate forms of social exclusion. It is not only structural unemployment that is of concern, although this is the most visible change. More importantly, the underlying forces of balancing supply and demand...