Labour Supply and Incentives to Work in Europe

Labour Supply and Incentives to Work in Europe

Edited by Ramón Gómez-Salvador, Ana Lamo, Barbara Petrongolo, Melanie Ward and Etienne Wasmer

Labour Supply and Incentives to Work in Europe highlights recent developments in the labour supply in Europe and gives a detailed assessment of their link with economic policies and labour market institutions. Despite major changes in European labour supply during the past few decades, the existing literature still lacks a comprehensive study of the relationship between labour supply and labour market institutions from a macro perspective.


Rob W. Euwals

Subjects: economics and finance, labour economics


Rob W. Euwals The international policy debate on part-time employment changed considerably in the last few decades. Before the 1990s many economic observers highlighted the underutilization of labour and discussed the incidence of involuntary part-time employment. On the other hand, already at the beginning of the 1980s the OECD (1983) concluded that most parttime employment is voluntary. Moreover, authors like Hart (1987) and Hamermesh (1993) consider part-time employment as an outcome that can be in the interest of both firms and workers. In recent years, economic observers started to open up their minds to part-time employment as a potential advantage rather than a trap for workers. Bollé (1997) concludes that, if it is chosen freely and protected by law, part-time employment offers a good way of striking a balance between time to earn a living and time to devote to other activities. The OECD (2001) discusses part-time employment as a way of helping parents into paid employment and to balance work and family life. The literature on social policies and employment distinguishes two models for combining paid employment and private care responsibilities. Social democratic countries like Sweden, Norway and France rely on government intervention, while liberal countries like the USA, Canada and Australia leave the opportunity for combining work and family life to the market. Both models are successful, as female employment rates are high and fertility rates are reasonably high in these countries. Part-time employment may be interpreted as an alternative model to combine work and private care...

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