The Labour Market Triangle

The Labour Market Triangle

Employment Protection, Unemployment Compensation and Activation in Europe

Globalization and Welfare series

Edited by Paul de Beer and Trudie Schils

Currently, European governments are being challenged to find an optimal social policy strategy that fosters 'flexicurity’, whereby a flexible, well-functioning labour market is achieved, whilst protection for workers is maintained. This fascinating book presents an in-depth study of the particular combination of unemployment insurance, employment protection and active labour market policies prevalent in seven European countries. The editors explore the formal laws and regulations, as well as the administration and implementation of social policy, paying special attention to the role of the social partners. The country comparison shows that the combination of social policy instruments is important to labour market performance, but that multiple optimal mixes already seem to exist.

Preface

Edited by Paul de Beer and Trudie Schils

Subjects: economics and finance, labour economics, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, labour policy

Extract

The future of the welfare state is inextricably bound up with its capacity to foster a well-functioning labour market while maintaining its traditional task of providing protection against the vagaries of a modern market economy. Experience has shown that there are no simple ways to realize this twin goal. All countries that were heralded as a paragon of an optimal policy mix at one point in time, such as Sweden, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Finland, were confronted with serious problems later on and had to give up their model status. Nevertheless there is increasing understanding that countries should learn from each other’s experiences. Although it is an illusion to think that one could copy the formula for success from one country to another, learning from other countries’ experiences is indispensable in order to design a well-considered policy mix. This is now a central element of the so-called open method of coordination (OMC) of the European Union (EU), which has been employed in the areas of employment policies, social inclusion, pensions and health care. However, one of the problems for policy learning in the EU is that it is often quite hard to establish which policies are successful and which are not. We are convinced that, in order to gain real insight into the effectiveness of social policy, we have to go beyond simple statistical indicators for policy measures and perform an in-depth study that covers the formal laws and regulations as well as the practice of administration and...