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Labour Administration in Uncertain Times

Policy, Practice and Institutions

Edited by Jason Heyes and Ludek Rychly

The 2008 financial crisis marked the beginning of a prolonged and ongoing period of extreme economic turbulence that has created multiple challenges for both governments and national systems of labour administration. Difficult economic conditions are encouraging a reevaluation of established policies and institutions in the areas of labour, employment, social protection and industrial relations. This book analyses recent reforms in labour administration and national labour policies, charting their development and discussing the challenges and opportunities faced by governments, ministries of labour, labour inspectors, employer organisations and trade unions.
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Richard Hyman

circle’ have challenged the representative status of the main confederations, and the unions themselves have had to take very serious steps to try to reassert and redefine their own representative capacity by persuading the workers on the ground that they genuinely represent their interests. So it is in the unions’ own interest to make sure that their independent capacity to act is not compromised by becoming too dependent on such forms of support. Similar ambiguities apply in the case of the right to negotiate. A very simple equation is that a union right to negotiate

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Christopher T. King

interesting is that, at least to date, neither has embraced the types of economic austerity measures that have characterized much of Europe, although policy-makers – in particular so-called Tea Party adherents in the US House of Representatives and many state legislatures – have been clamouring for them. In many respects, the wide variation across the globe both in the types of labour market policies adopted and in the economic and political contexts for their implementation presents a natural experiment of sorts that allows policy-makers and researchers to gauge the use

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Jörg Flecker and Annika Schönauer

, and since 1949 it has existed as an instrument of labour market policy in Austrian law, but has played only a marginal role until recently. It was initially designed as an instrument to avoid layoffs in cases of unforeseen and temporary declines in production due to incidents such as interruptions of transport lines, accidents, strikes in supplying plants, or natural disasters. Its purpose therefore is solely the preservation, and not the creation, of jobs (Fuchs 2009). All employers except the state (Bund) and its federal states (Bundesländer), municipalities

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Jon C. Messenger and Naj Ghosheh

‘stimulus packages’ (and often monetary ‘stimulus’ as well, through both interest rate cuts and so-­called ‘quantitative easing’) to bolster aggregate demand. Governments also developed or expanded a variety of labour market policies, ranging from unemployment insurance to skill training and a variety of other types of employment assistance. These last policies were typically based on the assumption that unemployment rates would follow historical patterns and move more or less in tandem with the decline in GDP. Yet, curiously, the response of unemployment in many

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Erinç Yeldan

’ confederations. The Council was established in 1995 and has an advisory role to address economic and social issues at the nationwide level. Tunali observes: [T]he legislative structure that governs industrial relations includes a stipulation for social dialogue at the enterprise level. Union representatives have a say on various matters such as annual leave, health, safety, and disciplinary regulations at the plant level. (Tunali, 2003: ch 7) The legal minimum wage rate is set by the Minimum Wage Determination Commission. This rate not only sets a floor for remunerations of

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Jon C. Messenger and Naj Ghosheh

financial difficulties. In Austria, as in Germany, the national work-­sharing measure (which is also called ‘Kurzarbeit’) requires that the establishment must be suffering from temporary economic difficulties due to factors external to the enterprise (but unlike in Germany, there is no scheme designed to respond to normal seasonal effects on businesses). The crisis work-­sharing measure in France (chômage partiel) also refers to exceptional circumstances, but in addition to economic conditions these also include the provision of raw materials or energy, natural disasters

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Work Sharing during the Great Recession

New Developments and Beyond

Edited by Jon C. Messenger and Naj Ghosheh

‘Work sharing’ is a labour market instrument devised to distribute a reduced volume of work to the same (or similar) number of workers over a diminished period of working time in order to avoid redundancies. This fascinating and timely study presents the concept and history of work sharing and explores the complexities and trade-offs involved in its use as both a strategy for preserving jobs and a policy for increasing employment.
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Lonnie Golden and Stuart Glosser

(Donner Commission 1995). However, cutting in half the existing overemployment rate, from 10 to 5 per cent of workers (that is, redistributing hours from the overworked to the underworked) would have a limited ability to create new jobs filled by the currently unemployed, albeit it may still be a worthwhile public policy (Drolet and Morissette 1997). In addition, a natural experiment of sorts occurred between 1997 and 2000 in the Canadian province of Quebec. It reduced its standard workweek from 44 down to 40 hours, with the primary aim of stimulating employment growth

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Lutz Bellmann, Andreas Crimmann, Hans-Dieter Gerner and Frank Wießner

recovery process, GDP regained its pre-­crisis level in mid-­2011. The GCEE forecast a GDP growth rate of 3.0 per cent for 2011 and of 0.9 per cent for 2012, which is a deceleration of the economic growth (Sachverständigenrat 2011: 10ff.). Furthermore the GCEE warned: The uncertainty surrounding the resolution of the sovereign debt crisis may have a major impact on world trade. There is a real danger that the already fraught funding conditions for sovereigns may tighten further. If the escalation of the crisis is confined to the euro area, the scenario projects a