Chapter 4: Beyond Employment Performance: Is the Lisbon Strategy on the Right Track?
All happy families are like one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. (Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina) The previous chapter revealed that the roots of diﬀerences in the performance of employment systems lie deeper than mere diﬀerences of labour market or employment policies. In this chapter I intend to test the hypothesis that diﬀerences in employment rates also have to do with the way societies value labour market work as a means of enhancing welfare or prosperity. In other words: How ‘full’ should full employment be? As the quotation by Leo Tolstoy suggests, it might be that some societies do not see the ultimate goal to be the maximisation of pleasure through the maximisation of employment as an input for economic prosperity. They might instead see employment partly as an end in itself and therefore put much more emphasis on the quality of jobs in order to minimise the unpleasant features related to work or employment. In other words, they might trade economic growth for growth in rewarding or meaningful jobs. Or, to the extent that unpleasant features of work are unavoidable, they might simply trade work for leisure or for rewarding and meaningful work outside the labour market. The chapter proceeds in three steps. In the ﬁrst section, I ascertain whether employment systems have identiﬁably diﬀerent eﬀects on the various dimensions of economic well-being. Granted, the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita is not a perfect indicator of economic prosperity,...
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