A European Perspective
Edited by Catherine Sofer
Chapter 8: Labour contracts and economic performance: Spain and France
Juan Cañada Vicinay and Michel Sollogoub 1. INTRODUCTION Institutional regulations of the labour markets have been the subject of controversy concerning the role they play in the market’s functioning.1 As computed by the OECD in 1994, Spain and France stand at the higher end of the labour standard index describing the strength of legislation governing a number of aspects of the labour markets related to working time, employment protection, minimum wages, employees’ representation rights and fixed-term contracts. On a scale ranging from 0 to 10, Spain has the highest score among the described countries (7) and France comes just behind (6).2 At the same time, the performances of these two countries, as described in Table 8.1, show divergent results relatively to the UK and the Netherlands. While France presents similar figures to the EU-15 average, Spain is an extreme case of low performance, since the incidence of temporary jobs and unemployment are almost double the EU average, while part-time work is less then half the EU rate and less than a fifth of the Dutch percentage. France is more in accordance with the European average, exhibiting a slightly higher unemployment rate. Moreover, atypical employment and unemployment generally follow separate trends, since the former is monotonically increasing while the latter exhibits a maximum in the middle of the decade and then declines markedly in the most recent years. Women are more affected than men, since they are more exposed to unemployment and to temporary and part-time jobs. In this...
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