Measures, Public Private Partnerships and Benchmarking
Edited by Jaap de Koning
Chapter 1: Introduction
Jaap de Koning TRANSITIONAL LABOUR MARKETS AND THE ROLE OF ACTIVE LABOUR MARKET POLICY Since the second half of the 1970s, European labour markets have been characterized by considerably higher levels of unemployment than in the period of remarkably low levels of unemployment after the Second World War. The oﬃcial unemployment ﬁgures even underestimate the size of the problem as many people have withdrawn from the labour market, having hardly any chance of ﬁnding a job. Until recently, inactivity was, in some cases, even stimulated by governments in the form of subsidies for early retirement. Faced with these developments in the labour market, Schmid (1995) concluded that full employment in the traditional sense was no longer a realistic goal. Full employment was until then seen as a situation of low unemployment in which most people in the labour force were continuously employed, often in the same job, from the moment they left school until their pension age. As an alternative, normative perspective he developed the concept of transitional labour markets (TLM). In TLM, people are not employed permanently, at least not full-time, but alternate periods of employment with periods of non employment (or periods during which they work fewer hours), during which they spend more time on care activities, education and training, etc. In Schmid’s concept, people are not permanently engaged in paid work and in this sense TLMs do not diﬀer from today’s actual labour markets. However, under TLMs, in their ideal form, there is no unemployment...